Genetic Interactions Between Transcription Factors Cause Natural Variation in Yeast

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Science  23 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5913, pp. 498-501
DOI: 10.1126/science.1166426

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Our understanding of the genetic basis of phenotypic diversity is limited by the paucity of examples in which multiple, interacting loci have been identified. We show that natural variation in the efficiency of sporulation, the program in yeast that initiates the sexual phase of the life cycle, between oak tree and vineyard strains is due to allelic variation between four nucleotide changes in three transcription factors: IME1, RME1, and RSF1. Furthermore, we identified that selection has shaped quantitative variation in yeast sporulation between strains. These results illustrate how genetic interactions between transcription factors are a major source of phenotypic diversity within species.

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