Darwinian Selection on a Selfing Locus

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Science  17 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5704, pp. 2081-2084
DOI: 10.1126/science.1103776

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The shift to self-pollination is one of the most prevalent evolutionary transitions in flowering plants. In the selfing plant Arabidopsis thaliana, pseudogenes at the SCR and SRK self-incompatibility loci are believed to underlie the evolution of self-fertilization. Positive directional selection has driven the evolutionary fixation of pseudogene alleles of SCR, leading to substantially reduced nucleotide variation. Coalescent simulations indicate that this adaptive event may have occurred very recently and is possibly associated with the post-Pleistocene expansion of A. thaliana from glacial refugia. This suggests that ancillary morphological innovations associated with self-pollination can evolve rapidly after the inactivation of the self-incompatibility response.

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