The evolution of recombination under domestication: a test of two hypotheses.

Department of Genetics, Life Sciences Building, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 30602, USA.
The American Naturalist (Impact Factor: 4.55). 02/2004; 163(1):105-12. DOI: 10.1086/380606
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The successful domestication of wild plants has been one of the most important human accomplishments of the last 10,000 yr. Though our empirical knowledge of the genetic mechanisms of plant domestication is still relatively limited, there exists a large body of theory that offers a host of hypotheses on the genetics of domestication. Two of these that have not been addressed concern the role of recombination in the process of domestication. The first predicts an increase in recombination rate through domestication, while the second argues that recombination rate should serve as a preadaptation to domestication. This study makes use of data on chiasma frequencies available from almost a century of plant cytogenetical literature to test these two hypotheses. The results support the hypothesis that domestication selects for an increase in recombination, and in rejecting the preadaptation hypothesis, they suggest directions for future research into the possibility of preadaptation to domestication.

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