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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/27597

Title: Molecular Population Genetic Consequences of Evolutionary Transitions from Outcrossing to Selfing in Plants
Authors: Ness, Robert W.
Advisor: Barrett, Spencer C. H.
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Keywords: evolutionary genetics
population genetics
Issue Date: 13-Jun-2011
Abstract: The transition from cross-fertilization to predominant self-fertilization is considered the most common evolutionary transition in flowering plants. This change in mating system has profound influences on the amounts and patterns of genetic diversity within and among populations, and on key genetic and demographic processes. The main goal of my thesis is to determine the molecular population genetic consequences of this transition in the annual neotropical aquatic plant Eichhornia paniculata (Pontederiaceae) using DNA sequence from individuals sampled from throughout the species’ geographic range. Populations exhibit a wide range of mating patterns associated the evolutionary breakdown of tristyly facilitating specific contrasts between outcrossing and selfing populations. Analysis of molecular variation supported the hypothesis of multiple origins of selfing, including the evolution of two morphologically distinct selfing variants from Central America and the Caribbean. A survey of 10 nuclear loci from 225 individuals sampled from 25 populations demonstrated the joint influence of mating system, population size and demographic bottlenecks in affecting patterns of nucleotide variation. Small selfing populations exhibited significantly lower genetic diversity compared with larger outcrossing and mixed mating populations. There was also evidence for higher population differentiation and a slower decay of linkage disequilibrium in predominately selfing populations from the Caribbean region. Coalescent simulations of the sequence data indicated a bottleneck associated with colonization of the Caribbean from Brazil ∼125,000 years ago. To investigate the consequences of transitions from outcrossing to selfing across the genome, I used high-throughput, short-read sequencing to assemble ~27,000 ESTs representing ∼24Mbp of sequence. Characterization of floral transcriptomes from this dataset identified 269 genes associated with floral development, 22 of which were differentially expressed in three independently derived selfing lineages compared to an outcrossing genotype. Evidence for relaxed selection in selfing lineages was obtained from an analysis of a subset of ~8000 orthologous sequences from each genotype, as predicted by theory. Selfing genomes showed an increase in the proportion of nonsynonymous to synonymous changes and relaxation of selection for codon usage bias. My thesis represents the most detailed investigation to date of the molecular population genetic consequences of intraspecific variation in the mating systems of plants.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/27597
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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