Patterns of genome-wide nucleotide diversity in the gynodioecious plant Thymus vulgaris are compatible with recent sweeps of cytoplasmic genes

Maéva Mollion, Bodil Ehlers, E. Figuet, Sylvain Santoni, Thomas Lenormand, Sandrine Maurice, Nicolas Galtier, Thomas Bataillon

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Abstract

Gynodioecy is a sexual dimorphism where females coexist with hermaphrodite individuals. In most cases, this dimorphism involves the interaction of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) genes and nuclear restorer genes. Two scenarios can account for how these interactions maintain gynodioecy. Either CMS genes recurrently enter populations at low frequency via mutation or migration and go to fixation unimpeded (successive sweeps), or CMS genes maintain polymorphism over evolutionary time through interactions with a nuclear restorer allele (balanced polymorphism). To distinguish between these scenarios, we used transcriptome sequencing in gynodioecious Thymus vulgaris and surveyed genome-wide diversity in 18 naturally occurring individuals sampled from populations at a local geographic scale. We contrast the amount and patterns of nucleotide diversity in the nuclear and cytoplasmic genome, and find ample diversity at the nuclear level (π = 0.019 at synonymous sites) but reduced genetic diversity and an excess of rare polymorphisms in the cytoplasmic genome relative to the nuclear genome. Our finding is incompatible with the maintenance of gynodioecy via scenarios invoking long-term balancing selection, and instead suggests the recent fixation of CMS lineages in the populations studied.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftGenome Biology and Evolution
Vol/bind10
Nummer1
Sider (fra-til)239-248
Antal sider10
ISSN1759-6653
DOI
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2018

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