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J Plant Res. 2011 Jan;124(1):85-92. doi: 10.1007/s10265-010-0361-2. Epub 2010 Jun 19.

Molecular evolution of cryptochrome genes and the evolutionary manner of photoreceptor genes in Cardamine nipponica (Brassicaceae).

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Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Science Build #2, 7-3-1 Hongo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Various photoreceptors in plants are used to monitor important environmental light signals and regulate plant development. Despite their functional importance, recent studies have demonstrated that red/far-red absorbing phytochromes or blue/UV-A absorbing cryptochromes are involved in local adaptation within a species' range. In the present study, to exemplify the intraspecific photoreceptor evolutionary pattern, the genetic structures of cryptochrome genes (CRY1 and CRY2) in Cardamine nipponica (Brassicaceae), of which PHYE, a gene coding one of the phytochromes, was found to be involved in local adaptation between central and northern Japanese populations. Although clear genetic differentiations between central and northern Japan were detected (CRY1: F (ST) = 0.63, CRY2: F (ST) = 0.53), overall nucleotide diversity was very low (CRY1: π (Total) = 0.0014, CRY2: π (Total) = 0.0013), and the polymorphism patterns were neutral (CRY1: Tajima's D = 0.084, P = 0.32, CRY2: D = -0.014, P = 0.39). Therefore, the involvement of cryptochromes in the adaptation to local environments is difficult to postulate. Consequently, this study along with our previous findings suggest that intraspecific photoreceptor gene polymorphisms in C. nipponica were mostly suppressed by purifying selection due to their functional importance as photoreceptors, while some of the photoreceptors may play substantial roles in adaptation to local environments.

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