Arabidopsis and relatives as models for the study of genetic and genomic incompatibilities

Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 7.06). 06/2010; 365(1547):1815-23. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2009.0304
Source: PubMed


The past few years have seen considerable advances in speciation research, but whether drift or adaptation is more likely to lead to genetic incompatibilities remains unknown. Some of the answers will probably come from not only studying incompatibilities between well-established species, but also from investigating incipient speciation events, to learn more about speciation as an evolutionary process. The genus Arabidopsis, which includes the widely used Arabidopsis thaliana, provides a useful set of model species for studying many aspects of population divergence. The genus contains both self-incompatible and incompatible species, providing a platform for studying the impact of mating system changes on genetic differentiation. Another important path to plant speciation is via formation of polyploids, and this can be investigated in the young allotetraploid species A. arenosa. Finally, there are many cases of intraspecific incompatibilities in A. thaliana, and recent progress has been made in discovering the genes underlying both F(1) and F(2) breakdown. In the near future, all these studies will be greatly empowered by complete genome sequences not only for all members of this relatively small genus, but also for many different individuals within each species.

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    • "The idea was formulated almost eight decades ago by Theodosius Dobzhansky and Hermann Müller, whereby diverging populations, separated by geographical or ecological barriers, could accumulate independent mutations that cause negative epistatic interactions when brought together, leading to the loss of hybrid fertility or viability. Over the years, examples of such Dobzhansky– Müller incompatibility have been found in species among various taxa (Coyne and Orr 2004) and more recently, within populations of the same species in model organisms such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Caenorhabditis elegans (Bikard et al. 2009; Bomblies and Weigel 2010; Chae et al. 2014; Seidel et al. 2008). Curiously, the very existence of such genetic incompatibilities among yeasts species has long been a subject of debate, with few rare examples identified to date (Chou et al. 2010; Heck et al. 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Exploring the molecular bases of intraspecific reproductive isolation captures the ongoing phenotypic consequences of genetic divergence and provides insights into the early onset of speciation. Recent species-wide surveys using natural populations of yeasts demonstrated that intrinsic post-zygotic reproductive isolation segregates readily within the same species, and revealed the multiplicity of the genetic mechanisms underlying such processes. These advances deepened our current understandings and opened further perspectives regarding the complete picture of molecular and evolutionary origins driving the onset of intraspecific reproductive isolation in yeasts.
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    • "Only the higher, toxic Cu concentrations reduced both root system morphogenetic processes (Lequeux et al. 2010). The relative species A. halleri and A. arenosa have been characterized mostly from cytogenetic and evolutionary aspects but recent studies underline focus also on mechanisms of their adaptation to environmental conditions (Clauss & Koch 2006; Bomblies & Weigel 2010). The hyperaccumulator A. halleri represents a model plant for the studies of heavy metal tolerance, uptake, and accumulation (Roosens et al. 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Root system morphology was characterized in the seedlings of heavy-metal sensitive Arabidopsis thaliana, the non-metallicolous (NM) and metallicolous (M) populations of the tolerant A. arenosa and A. halleri, developed on the natural soils: the Zn-Pb-Cd-Cu-contaminated (C soils), the non-contaminated (NC soils), and on an identical nutrient-rich compost. Anatomy of primary roots grown on agar medium with control and elevated zinc concentrations was investigated also in the model A. thaliana ecotype Columbia. The three Arabidopsis species differed in morphological and/or quantitative responses to the varying soil qualities. Comparing to natural NC soil, the morphology of A. thaliana root system differed only on the compost with dominating lateral root lengths while the root lengths were reduced on the C soil. In NM and M populations of A. arenosa the lateral root elongation and density were reduced on the C soil and root growth but not lateral root density were stimulated on the compost. In NM and M populations of A. halleri the root system morphology remained unaltered in all three soils. The root elongation was reduced but lateral root initiation increased on the C soil while the roots were longer and lateral root density lower on the compost. The responses of A. arenosa or A. halleri populations differed only in absolute root lengths. The similarity in morphological responses to varying soil metal contents indicated plastic responses rather than heritable traits of the root systems. The root tissue organization three Arabidopsis species resembled the known A. thaliana ecotype Columbia. Quantitatively, the tolerant species and their M populations had thicker roots due to a greater number and size of cells in epidermis, cortex including a higher number of middle cortex cells, and endodermis. The rates of root growth and quantitative root anatomy may represent morphological traits contributing to heavy metal tolerance of the Arabidopsis species.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Biologia
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    • "Arabidopsis halleri is a clonal, self-incompatible and highly outcrossing perennial weed that is closely related to the model species A. thaliana. Because it is able to both colonize zinc-and cadmium-polluted sites (metal tolerance) and concentrate large amounts of these metals in foliar tissues (metal hyperaccumulation ), the species is a promising model to gain an insight into the genome-wide processes involved in ecologically important traits (Roosens et al., 2008a,b; Verbruggen et al., 2009; Bomblies & Weigel, 2010). Across its distribution range, from lowland to subalpine zones, from Europe to the Far East (Al-Shehbaz & O'Kane, 2002), A. halleri can be divided into ecogeographic units in several ways. "
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    ABSTRACT: Arabidopsis halleri is a pseudometallophyte involved in numerous molecular studies of the adaptation to anthropogenic metal stress. In order to test the representativeness of genetic accessions commonly used in these studies, we investigated the A. halleri population genetic structure in Europe. Microsatellite and nucleotide polymorphisms from the nuclear and chloroplast genomes, respectively, were used to genotype 65 populations scattered over Europe. The large-scale population structure was characterized by a significant phylogeographic signal between two major genetic units. The localization of the phylogeographic break was assumed to result from vicariance between large populations isolated in southern and central Europe, on either side of ice sheets covering the Alps during the Quaternary ice ages. Genetic isolation was shown to be maintained in western Europe by the high summits of the Alps, whereas admixture was detected in the Carpathians. Considering the phylogeographic literature, our results suggest a distinct phylogeographic pattern for European species occurring in both mountain and lowland habitats. Considering the evolution of metal adaptation in A. halleri, it appears that recent adaptations to anthropogenic metal stress that have occurred within either phylogeographic unit should be regarded as independent events that potentially have involved the evolution of a variety of genetic mechanisms.
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