[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dictyostelium discoideum, a microbial model for social evolution, is known to distinguish self from non-self and show genotype-dependent behavior during chimeric development. Aside from a small number of cell-cell recognition genes, however, little is known about the genetic basis of self/non-self recognition in this species. Based on the key hypothesis that there should be differential expression of genes if D. discoideum cells were interacting with non-clone mates, we performed transcriptomic profiling study in this species during clonal vs. chimeric development. The transcriptomic profiles of D. discoideum cells in clones vs. different chimeras were compared at five different developmental stages using a customized microarray. Effects of chimerism on global transcriptional patterns associated with social interactions were observed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is difficult to overstate the cultural and biological impacts that the domestication of plants and animals has had on our species. Fundamental questions regarding where, when, and how many times domestication took place have been of primary interest within a wide range of academic disciplines. Within the last two decades, the advent of new archaeological and genetic techniques has revolutionized our understanding of the pattern and process of domestication and agricultural origins that led to our modern way of life. In the spring of 2011, 25 scholars with a central interest in domestication representing the fields of genetics, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, geoarchaeology, and archaeology met at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center to discuss recent domestication research progress and identify challenges for the future. In this introduction to the resulting Special Feature, we present the state of the art in the field by discussing what is known about the spatial and temporal patterns of domestication, and controversies surrounding the speed, intentionality, and evolutionary aspects of the domestication process. We then highlight three key challenges for future research. We conclude by arguing that although recent progress has been impressive, the next decade will yield even more substantial insights not only into how domestication took place, but also when and where it did, and where and why it did not.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent increases in archaeobotanical evidence offer insights into the processes of plant domestication and agricultural origins, which evolved in parallel in several world regions. Many different crop species underwent convergent evolution and acquired domestication syndrome traits. For a growing number of seed crop species, these traits can be quantified by proxy from archaeological evidence, providing measures of the rates of change during domestication. Among domestication traits, nonshattering cereal ears evolved more quickly in general than seed size. Nevertheless, most domestication traits show similarly slow rates of phenotypic change over several centuries to millennia, and these rates were similar across different regions of origin. Crops reproduced vegetatively, including tubers and many fruit trees, are less easily documented in terms of morphological domestication, but multiple lines of evidence outline some patterns in the development of vegecultural systems across the New World and Old World tropics. Pathways to plant domestication can also be compared in terms of the cultural and economic factors occurring at the start of the process. Whereas agricultural societies have tended to converge on higher population densities and sedentism, in some instances cultivation began among sedentary hunter-gatherers whereas more often it was initiated by mobile societies of hunter-gatherers or herder-gatherers.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The domestication of plants and animals marks one of the most significant transitions in human, and indeed global, history. Traditionally, study of the domestication process was the exclusive domain of archaeologists and agricultural scientists; today it is an increasingly multidisciplinary enterprise that has come to involve the skills of evolutionary biologists and geneticists. Although the application of new information sources and methodologies has dramatically transformed our ability to study and understand domestication, it has also generated increasingly large and complex datasets, the interpretation of which is not straightforward. In particular, challenges of equifinality, evolutionary variance, and emergence of unexpected or counter-intuitive patterns all face researchers attempting to infer past processes directly from patterns in data. We argue that explicit modeling approaches, drawing upon emerging methodologies in statistics and population genetics, provide a powerful means of addressing these limitations. Modeling also offers an approach to analyzing datasets that avoids conclusions steered by implicit biases, and makes possible the formal integration of different data types. Here we outline some of the modeling approaches most relevant to current problems in domestication research, and demonstrate the ways in which simulation modeling is beginning to reshape our understanding of the domestication process.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rafflesia is a genus of holoparasitic plants endemic to Southeast Asia that has lost the ability to undertake photosynthesis. With short-read sequencing technology, we assembled a draft sequence of the mitochondrial genome of Rafflesia lagascae Blanco, a species endemic to the Philippine island of Luzon, with ∼350x sequencing depth coverage. Using multiple approaches, however, we were only able to identify small fragments of plastid sequences at low coverage depth (< 2x) and could not recover any substantial portion of a chloroplast genome. The gene fragments we identified included photosynthesis and energy production genes (atp, ndh, pet, psa, psb, rbcL), ribosomal RNA genes (rrn16, rrn23), ribosomal protein genes (rps7, rps11, rps16), transfer RNA genes, as well as matK, accD, ycf2, and multiple non-genic regions from the inverted repeats. None of the identified plastid gene sequences had intact reading frames. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that ~33% of these remnant plastid genes may have been horizontally transferred from the host plant genus Tetrastigma with the rest having ambiguous phylogenetic positions (<50% bootstrap support), except for psaB which was strongly allied with the plastid homologue in Nicotiana. Our inability to identify substantial plastid genome sequences from R. lagascae using multiple approaches - despite success in identifying and developing a draft assembly of the much larger mitochondrial genome - suggests that the parasitic plant genus Rafflesia may be the first plant group for which there is no recognizable plastid genome, or if present is found in cryptic form at very low levels.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 01/2014; · 14.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The onset of flowering, the change from vegetative to reproductive development, is a major life history transition in flowering plants. Recent work suggests that mutations in cis-regulatory mutations should play critical roles in the evolution of this (as well as other) important adaptive traits, but thus far there has been little evidence that directly links regulatory mutations to evolutionary change at the species level. While several genes have previously been shown to affect natural variation in flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana, most either show protein-coding changes and/or are found at low frequency (<5%). Here we identify and characterize natural variation in the cis-regulatory sequence in the transcription factor CONSTANS that underlies flowering time diversity in Arabidopsis. Mutation in this regulatory motif evolved recently and has spread to high frequency in Arabidopsis natural accessions, suggesting a role for these cis-regulatory changes in adaptive variation of flowering time.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Domestication is a good model for the study of evolutionary processes because of the recent evolution of crop species (<12,000 years ago), the key role of selection in their origins, and good archaeological and historical data on their spread and diversification. Recent studies, such as quantitative trait locus mapping, genome-wide association studies and whole-genome resequencing studies, have identified genes that are associated with the initial domestication and subsequent diversification of crops. Together, these studies reveal the functions of genes that are involved in the evolution of crops that are under domestication, the types of mutations that occur during this process and the parallelism of mutations that occur in the same pathways and proteins, as well as the selective forces that are acting on these mutations and that are associated with geographical adaptation of crop species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant development is remarkably plastic but how precisely can the plant customize its form to specific environments? When the plant adjusts its development to different environments, related traits can change in a coordinated fashion, such that two traits co-vary across many genotypes. Alternatively, traits can vary independently, such that a change in one trait has little predictive value for the change in a second trait. To characterize such "tunability" in developmental plasticity, we carried out a detailed phenotypic characterization of complex root traits among 96 accessions of the model Arabidopsis thaliana in two nitrogen environments. The results revealed a surprising level of independence in the control of traits to environment - a highly tunable form of plasticity. We mapped genetic architecture of plasticity using genome-wide association studies and further used gene expression analysis to narrow down gene candidates in mapped regions. Mutants in genes implicated by association and expression analysis showed precise defects in the predicted traits in the predicted environment, corroborating the independent control of plasticity traits. The overall results suggest that there is a pool of genetic variability in plants that controls traits in specific environments, with opportunity to tune crop plants to a given environment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Artificial selection played an important role in the origin of modern Glycine max cultivars from the wild soybean Glycine soja. To elucidate the consequences of artificial selection accompanying the domestication and modern improvement of soybean, 25 new and 30 published whole-genome re-sequencing accessions, which represent wild, domesticated landrace, and Chinese elite soybean populations were analyzed.
A total of 5,102,244 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 707,969 insertion/deletions were identified. Among the SNPs detected, 25.5% were not described previously. We found that artificial selection during domestication led to more pronounced reduction in the genetic diversity of soybean than the switch from landraces to elite cultivars. Only a small proportion (2.99%) of the whole genomic regions appear to be affected by artificial selection for preferred agricultural traits. The selection regions were not distributed randomly or uniformly throughout the genome. Instead, clusters of selection hotspots in certain genomic regions were observed. Moreover, a set of candidate genes (4.38% of the total annotated genes) significantly affected by selection underlying soybean domestication and genetic improvement were identified.
Given the uniqueness of the soybean germplasm sequenced, this study drew a clear picture of human-mediated evolution of the soybean genomes. The genomic resources and information provided by this study would also facilitate the discovery of genes/loci underlying agronomically important traits.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phenotypic plasticity is presumed to be involved in adaptive change toward species diversification. We thus examined how candidate genes underlying natural variation across populations might also mediate plasticity within an individual. Our implementation of an integrative "plasticity space" approach revealed that the root plasticity of a single Arabidopsis accession exposed to distinct environments broadly recapitulates the natural variation "space." Genome-wide association mapping identified the known gene PHOSPHATE 1 (PHO1) and other genes such as Root System Architecture 1 (RSA1) associated with differences in root allometry, a highly plastic trait capturing the distribution of lateral roots along the primary axis. The response of mutants in the Columbia-0 background suggests their involvement in signaling key modulators of root development including auxin, abscisic acid, and nitrate. Moreover, genotype-by-environment interactions for the PHO1 and RSA1 genes in Columbia-0 phenocopy the root allometry of other natural variants. This finding supports a role for plasticity responses in phenotypic evolution in natural environments.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene duplication events have been proposed to be involved in the adaptation of plants to stress conditions; precisely how is unclear. To address this question, we studied the evolution of two families of antiporters. Cation/proton exchangers are important for normal cell function and in plants, Na+,K+/H+ antiporters have also been implicated in salt tolerance. Two well-known plant cation/proton antiporters are NHX1 and SOS1, which perform Na+ and K+ compartmentalization into the vacuole and Na+ efflux from the cell, respectively. However, our knowledge about the evolution of NHX and SOS1 stress responsive gene families is still limited.
In this study we performed a comprehensive molecular evolutionary analysis of the NHX and SOS1 families. Using available sequences from a total of 33 plant species, we estimated gene family phylogenies and gene duplication histories, as well as examined heterogeneous selection pressure on amino acid sites. Our results show that, while the NHX family expanded and specialized, the SOS1 family remained a low copy gene family that appears to have undergone neofunctionalization during its evolutionary history. Additionally, we found that both families are under purifying selection although SOS1 is less constrained.
We propose that the different evolution histories are related with the proteins' function and localization, and that the NHX and SOS1 families are examples of two different evolutionary paths through which duplication events may result in adaptive evolution of stress tolerance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stochastic mechanisms are sometimes utilized to diversify cell fates, especially in nervous systems. In the Drosophila retina, stochastic expression of the PAS-bHLH transcription factor Spineless (Ss) controls photoreceptor subtype choice. In one randomly distributed subset of R7 photoreceptors, Ss activates Rhodopsin4 (Rh4) and represses Rhodopsin3 (Rh3); counterparts lacking Ss express Rh3 and repress Rh4. In the dorsal third region of the retina, the Iroquois Complex transcription factors induce Rh3 in Rh4-expressing R7s. Here, we show that Ss levels are controlled in a binary on/off manner throughout the retina yet are attenuated in the dorsal third region to allow Rh3 coexpression with Rh4. Whereas the sensitivity of rh3 repression to differences in Ss levels generates stochastic and regionalized patterns, the robustness of rh4 activation ensures its stochastic expression throughout the retina. Our findings show how stochastic and regional inputs are integrated to control photoreceptor subtype specification in the Drosophila retina.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The perennial, Oryza rufipogon distributed from Asia to Australia and the annual O. meridionalis indigenous to Australia are AA genome species in the Oryza. However, recent research has demonstrated that the Australian AA genome perennial populations have maternal genomes more closely related to those of O. meridionalis than to those found in Asian populations of O. rufipogon suggesting that the Australian perennials may represent a new distinct gene pool for rice.
Analysis of an Oryza core collection covering AA genome species from Asia to Oceania revealed that some Oceania perennials had organellar genomes closely related to that of O meridionalis (meridionalis-type). O. rufipogon accessions from New Guinea carried either the meridionalis-type or rufirpogon-type (like O. rufipogon) organellar genomes. Australian perennials carried only the meridionalis-type organellar genomes when accompanied by the rufipogon-type nuclear genome. New accessions were collected to better characterize the Australian perennials, and their life histories (annual or perennial) were confirmed by field observations. All of the material collected carried only meridionalis-type organellar genomes. However, there were two distinct perennial groups. One of them carried an rufipogon-type nuclear genome similar to the Australian O. rufipogon in the core collection and the other carried an meridionalis-type nuclear genome not represented in the existing collection. Morphologically the rufipogon-type shared similarity with Asian O. rufipogon. The meridionalis-type showed some similarities to O. meridionalis such as the short anthers usually characteristic of annual populations. However, the meridionalis-type perennial was readily distinguished from O. meridionalis by the presence of a larger lemma and higher number of spikelets.
Analysis of current accessions clearly indicated that there are two distinct types of Australian perennials. Both of them differed genetically from Asian O. rufipogon. One lineage is closely related to O. meridionalis and another to Asian O. rufipogon. The first was presumed to have evolved by divergence from O. meridionalis becoming differentiated as a perennial species in Australia indicating that it represents a new gene pool. The second, apparently derived from Asian O. rufipogon, possibly arrived in Australia later.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are typically studied to characterize adaptation in organisms. However, copy number variation has also been known to play an important role in evolution. With the advent of genome technologies such as microarrays and high throughput sequencing, duplications and deletions of genomic segments known as copy number variants (CNVs) are being studied more thoroughly. It is thought that the duplication of genes and regions of the genome specifically leads to the generation of material contributing to species adaptation. Here we present the use of deep sequencing data to identify copy number variants in lab and wild strains of the algal species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with the hypothesis that genes which are adaptive to growth environments are likely to undergo duplication events.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduced species frequently show geographic differentiation, and when differentiation mirrors the ancestral range, it is often taken as evidence of adaptive evolution. The mouse-ear cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) was introduced to North America from Eurasia 150-200 years ago, providing an opportunity to study parallel adaptation in a genetic model organism. Here, we test for clinal variation in flowering time using 199 North American (NA) accessions of A. thaliana, and evaluate the contributions of major flowering time genes FRI, FLC, and PHYC as well as potential ecological mechanisms underlying differentiation. We find evidence for substantial within population genetic variation in quantitative traits and flowering time, and putatively adaptive longitudinal differentiation, despite low levels of variation at FRI, FLC, and PHYC and genome-wide reductions in population structure relative to Eurasian (EA) samples. The observed longitudinal cline in flowering time in North America is parallel to an EA cline, robust to the effects of population structure, and associated with geographic variation in winter precipitation and temperature. We detected major effects of FRI on quantitative traits associated with reproductive fitness, although the haplotype associated with higher fitness remains rare in North America. Collectively, our results suggest the evolution of parallel flowering time clines through novel genetic mechanisms.
Ecology and Evolution 06/2012; 2(6):1162-80. · 1.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asian wild rice (Oryza rufipogon) that ranges widely across the eastern and southern part of Asia is recognized as the direct ancestor of cultivated Asian rice (O. sativa). Studies of the geographic structure of O. rufipogon, based on chloroplast and low-copy nuclear markers, reveal a possible phylogeographic signal of subdivision in O. rufipogon. However, this signal of geographic differentiation is not consistently observed among different markers and studies, with often conflicting results. To more precisely characterize the phylogeography of O. rufipogon populations, a genome-wide survey of unlinked markers, intensively sampled from across the entire range of O. rufipogon is critical. In this study, we surveyed sequence variation at 42 genome-wide sequence tagged sites (STS) in 108 O. rufipogon accessions from throughout the native range of the species. Using Bayesian clustering, principal component analysis and amova, we conclude that there are two genetically distinct O. rufipogon groups, Ruf-I and Ruf-II. The two groups exhibit a clinal variation pattern generally from north-east to south-west. Different from many earlier studies, Ruf-I, which is found mainly in China and the Indochinese Peninsula, shows genetic similarity with one major cultivated rice variety, O. satvia indica, whereas Ruf-II, mainly from South Asia and the Indochinese Peninsula, is not found to be closely related to cultivated rice varieties. The other major cultivated rice variety, O. sativa japonica, is not found to be similar to either O. rufipogon groups. Our results support the hypothesis of a single origin of the domesticated O. sativa in China. The possible role of palaeoclimate, introgression and migration-drift balance in creating this clinal variation pattern is also discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Species often harbour large amounts of phenotypic variation in ecologically important traits, and some of this variation is genetically based. Understanding how this genetic variation is spatially structured can help to understand species' ecological tolerances and range limits. We modelled the climate envelopes of Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes, ranging from early- to late-flowering, as a function of several climatic variables. We found that genotypes with contrasting alleles at individual flowering time loci differed significantly in potential range size and niche breadth. We also found that later flowering genotypes had more restricted range potentials and narrower niche breadths than earlier flowering genotypes, indicating that local selection on flowering can constrain or enhance the ability of populations to colonise other areas. Our study demonstrates how climate envelope models that incorporate ecologically important genetic variation can provide insights into the macroecology of a species, which is important to understand its responses to changing environments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Organisms in the wild are subject to multiple, fluctuating environmental factors, and it is in complex natural environments that genetic regulatory networks actually function and evolve. We assessed genome-wide gene expression patterns in the wild in two natural accessions of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and examined the nature of transcriptional variation throughout its life cycle and gene expression correlations with natural environmental fluctuations. We grew plants in a natural field environment and measured genome-wide time-series gene expression from the plant shoot every three days, spanning the seedling to reproductive stages. We find that 15,352 genes were expressed in the A. thaliana shoot in the field, and accession and flowering status (vegetative versus flowering) were strong components of transcriptional variation in this plant. We identified between ∼110 and 190 time-varying gene expression clusters in the field, many of which were significantly overrepresented by genes regulated by abiotic and biotic environmental stresses. The two main principal components of vegetative shoot gene expression (PC(veg)) correlate to temperature and precipitation occurrence in the field. The largest PC(veg) axes included thermoregulatory genes while the second major PC(veg) was associated with precipitation and contained drought-responsive genes. By exposing A. thaliana to natural environments in an open field, we provide a framework for further understanding the genetic networks that are deployed in natural environments, and we connect plant molecular genetics in the laboratory to plant organismal ecology in the wild.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have suggested that domestication was a slower evolutionary process than was previously thought. We address
this issue by quantifying rates of phenotypic change in crops undergoing domestication, including five crops from the Near
East (Triticum monococcum, T. dicoccum, Hordeum vulgare, Pisum sativum, Lens culinaris) and six crops from other regions (Oryza sativa, Pennisetum glaucum, Vigna radiata, Cucumis melo, Helianthus annus, Iva annua). We calculate rates using the metrics of darwin units and haldane units, which have been used in evolutionary biology, and
apply this to data on non-shattering cereal spikelets and seed size. Rates are calculated by considering data over a 4,000-year
period from archaeological sites in the region of origin, although we discuss the likelihood that a shorter period of domestication
(1,000–2,000) years may be more appropriate for some crops, such as pulses. We report broadly comparable rates of change across
all the crops and traits considered, and find that these are close to the averages and median values reported in various evolutionary
biological studies. Nevertheless, there is still variation in rates between domesticates, such as melon seeds increasing at
twice the rate of cereals, and between traits, such as non-shattering evolving faster than grain size. Such comparisons underline
the utility of a quantitative approach to domestication rates, and the need to develop larger datasets for comparisons between
crops and across regions.
KeywordsDomestication syndrome–Unconscious selection–Southwest Asia–Neolithic–Palaeoethnobotany
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 03/2012; 21(2):131-145. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite its importance, relatively little is known about the relationship between the structure, function, and evolution of proteins, particularly in land plant species. We have developed a database with predicted protein domains for five plant proteomes (http://pfp.bio.nyu.edu) and used both protein structural fold recognition and de novo Rosetta-based protein structure prediction to predict protein structure for Arabidopsis and rice proteins. Based on sequence similarity, we have identified ~15,000 orthologous/paralogous protein family clusters among these species and used codon-based models to predict positive selection in protein evolution within 175 of these sequence clusters. Our results show that codons that display positive selection appear to be less frequent in helical and strand regions and are overrepresented in amino acid residues that are associated with a change in protein secondary structure. Like in other organisms, disordered protein regions also appear to have more selected sites. Structural information provides new functional insights into specific plant proteins and allows us to map positively selected amino acid sites onto protein structures and view these sites in a structural and functional context.
Genome Biology and Evolution 02/2012; 4(3):360-71. · 4.76 Impact Factor