Journal Article

Selection on Meiosis Genes in Diploid and Tetraploid <i>Arabidopsis arenosa</i>

Kevin M. Wright, Brian Arnold, Katherine Xue, Maria Šurinová, Jeremy O’Connell and Kirsten Bomblies

in Molecular Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 32, issue 4, pages 944-955
Published in print April 2015 | ISSN: 0737-4038
Published online December 2014 | e-ISSN: 1537-1719 | DOI:
Selection on Meiosis Genes in Diploid and Tetraploid Arabidopsis arenosa

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  • Evolutionary Biology
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Meiotic chromosome segregation is critical for fertility across eukaryotes, and core meiotic processes are well conserved even between kingdoms. Nevertheless, recent work in animals has shown that at least some meiosis genes are highly diverse or strongly differentiated among populations. What drives this remains largely unknown. We previously showed that autotetraploid Arabidopsis arenosa evolved stable meiosis, likely through reduced crossover rates, and that associated with this there is strong evidence for selection in a subset of meiosis genes known to affect axis formation, synapsis, and crossover frequency. Here, we use genome-wide data to study the molecular evolution of 70 meiosis genes in a much wider sample of A. arenosa. We sample the polyploid lineage, a diploid lineage from the Carpathian Mountains, and a more distantly related diploid lineage from the adjacent, but biogeographically distinct Pannonian Basin. We find that not only did selection act on meiosis genes in the polyploid lineage but also independently on a smaller subset of meiosis genes in Pannonian diploids. Functionally related genes are targeted by selection in these distinct contexts, and in two cases, independent sweeps occurred in the same loci. The tetraploid lineage has sustained selection on more genes, has more amino acid changes in each, and these more often affect conserved or potentially functional sites. We hypothesize that Pannonian diploid and tetraploid A. arenosa experienced selection on structural proteins that mediate sister chromatid cohesion, the formation of meiotic chromosome axes, and synapsis, likely for different underlying reasons.

Keywords: meiosis; evolution; polyploidy

Journal Article.  8066 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology ; Molecular and Cell Biology

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