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Repeated evolutionary changes of leaf morphology caused by mutations to a homeobox gene

  • Elucidating the genetic basis of morphological changes in evolution remains a major challenge in biology [1-3]. Repeated independent trait changes are of particular interest because they can indicate adaptation in different lineages or genetic and developmental constraints on generating morphological variation [4-6]. In animals, changes to "hot spot" genes with minimal pleiotropy and large phenotypic effects underlie many cases of repeated morphological transitions [4-8]. By contrast, only few such genes have been identified from plants [8-11], limiting cross-kingdom comparisons of the principles of morphological evolution. Here, we demonstrate that the REDUCED COMPLEXITY (RCO) locus [12] underlies more than one naturally evolved change in leaf shape in the Brassicaceae. We show that the difference in leaf margin dissection between the sister species Capsella rubella and Capsella grandiflora is caused by cis-regulatory variation in the homeobox gene RCO-A, which alters its activity in the developing lobes of the leaf. PopulationElucidating the genetic basis of morphological changes in evolution remains a major challenge in biology [1-3]. Repeated independent trait changes are of particular interest because they can indicate adaptation in different lineages or genetic and developmental constraints on generating morphological variation [4-6]. In animals, changes to "hot spot" genes with minimal pleiotropy and large phenotypic effects underlie many cases of repeated morphological transitions [4-8]. By contrast, only few such genes have been identified from plants [8-11], limiting cross-kingdom comparisons of the principles of morphological evolution. Here, we demonstrate that the REDUCED COMPLEXITY (RCO) locus [12] underlies more than one naturally evolved change in leaf shape in the Brassicaceae. We show that the difference in leaf margin dissection between the sister species Capsella rubella and Capsella grandiflora is caused by cis-regulatory variation in the homeobox gene RCO-A, which alters its activity in the developing lobes of the leaf. Population genetic analyses in the ancestral C. grandiflora indicate that the more-active C. rubella haplotype is derived from a now rare or lost C. grandiflora haplotype via additional mutations. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the deletion of the RCO-A and RCO-B genes has contributed to its evolutionarily derived smooth leaf margin [12], suggesting the RCO locus as a candidate for an evolutionary hot spot. We also find that temperature-responsive expression of RCO-A can explain the phenotypic plasticity of leaf shape to ambient temperature in Capsella, suggesting a molecular basis for the well-known negative correlation between temperature and leaf margin dissection.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Adrien Sicard, Anna Thamm, Cindy Marona, Young Wha Lee, Vanessa Wahl, John R. Stinchcombe, Stephen I. Wright, Christian KappelORCiDGND, Michael Lenhard
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.061
ISSN:0960-9822
ISSN:1879-0445
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=25127212
Parent Title (English):Current biology
Publisher:Cell Press
Place of publication:Cambridge
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
Volume:24
Issue:16
Pagenumber:7
First Page:1880
Last Page:1886
Funder:Genome Canada; Genome Quebec Applied Bioproducts and Crops; European Research Council [260455]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert