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Science. 2007 Aug 24;317(5841):1070-2. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

The evolution of selfing in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Molecular and Computational Biology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


Unlike most of its close relatives, Arabidopsis thaliana is capable of self-pollination. In other members of the mustard family, outcrossing is ensured by the complex self-incompatibility (S) locus,which harbors multiple diverged specificity haplotypes that effectively prevent selfing. We investigated the role of the S locus in the evolution of and transition to selfing in A. thaliana. We found that the S locus of A. thaliana harbored considerable diversity, which is an apparent remnant of polymorphism in the outcrossing ancestor. Thus, the fixation of a single inactivated S-locus allele cannot have been a key step in the transition to selfing. An analysis of the genome-wide pattern of linkage disequilibrium suggests that selfing most likely evolved roughly a million years ago or more.

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