Sequence Validation of Candidates for Selectively Important Genes in Sunflower


Analyses aimed at identifying genes that have been targeted by past selection provide a powerful means for investigating the molecular basis of adaptive differentiation. In the case of crop plants, such studies have the potential to not only shed light on important evolutionary processes, but also to identify genes of agronomic interest. In this study, we test for evidence of positive selection at the DNA sequence level in a set of candidate genes previously identified in a genome-wide scan for genotypic evidence of selection during the evolution of cultivated sunflower. In the majority of cases, we were able to confirm the effects of selection in shaping diversity at these loci. Notably, the genes that were found to be under selection via our sequence-based analyses were devoid of variation in the cultivated sunflower gene pool. This result confirms a possible strategy for streamlining the search for adaptively-important loci process by pre-screening the derived population to identify the strongest candidates before sequencing them in the ancestral population. © 2013 Chapman et al.

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