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J Mol Evol. 2008 Aug;67(2):201-10. doi: 10.1007/s00239-008-9140-2. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

Adaptive and slightly deleterious evolution in a conifer, Cryptomeria japonica.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Kyushu University, Ropponmatsu, Fukuoka, 810-8560, Japan.


In order to evaluate effects of the population structure and natural selection on organisms having long generation times, we surveyed DNA polymorphisms at five loci encoding 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED), ammonium transporter, calmodulin, aquaporin, and the second major allergen with polymethylgalacturonase enzyme activity in the pollen (Cryj2) in a conifer, Cryptomeria japonica. The average nucleotide diversity at silent sites across 12 loci including the previously analyzed seven loci was 0.0044. The population recombination rate (4Nr, where N and r are the effective population size and recombination rate per base per generation, respectively) was estimated as 0.00046 and a slow reduction in the population size was indicated, according to the maximum likelihood method implemented in LAMARC. At NCED, the McDonald-Kreitman (MK) test revealed an excess of replacement polymorphisms, suggesting contributions of slightly deleterious mutations. In contrast, the MK test revealed an excess of replacement divergence at Cryj2 and a maximum likelihood approach using the PAML package revealed that certain amino acid sites had a nonsynonymous/synonymous substitution rate ratio (omega) > 4.0, indicating adaptive evolution at this locus. The overall analysis of the 12 loci suggested that adaptive, neutral, and slightly deleterious evolution played important roles in the evolution of C. japonica.

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