Editors' ChoicePlant Evolution

Arabidopsis out of Africa

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Science  02 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6341, pp. 919-920
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6341.919-b

Arabidopsis thaliana is one of the most studied plant species, and, as a model organism, there is a need to understand its origin and genetic diversity. Durvasula et al. investigated the genetic diversity of Arabidopsis populations from Africa. Contrary to previous hypotheses suggesting that Arabidopsis was introduced recently to Africa, the samples examined did not derive from other continents. Furthermore, Arabidopsis samples examined from sub-Saharan Africa were native and exhibited more variation and ancient diversity than Eurasian samples, suggesting an African origin. Interestingly, the spread of Arabidopsis out of Africa reflects the patterns of genetic diversity seen in other species, including humans, suggesting a common response to the climate among disparate organisms.

Proc. Natl. Acad. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1616736114 (2017).

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