Patterns of nucleotide variation in homoeologous regulatory genes in the allotetraploid Hawaiian silversword alliance (Asteraceae)


Michael Purugganan. Fax: 919 5153355; E-mail:


Genome-wide duplication (polyploidization) is prevalent in a large number of eukaryotic organisms and is particularly widespread in flowering plants. Polyploid species appear to vary from their diploid progenitors in a variety of ecologically important traits, suggesting that genome duplications provide a mechanism for ecological diversification. Studies of nucleotide variation at duplicate genes that arise via polyploidization allow us to infer the evolutionary forces that act on these polyploid loci. In an effort to examine the evolutionary dynamics of homoeologous loci, molecular population genetic analyses were undertaken for duplicate regulatory genes in the allopolyploid Hawaiian silversword alliance, a premier example of adaptive radiation. The levels and patterns of nucleotide variation for the floral homeotic genes ASAPETALA1 (ASAP1) and ASAPETALA3/TM6 (ASAP3/TM6) were studied in two species representing different lineages within the Hawaiian silversword alliance: Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp. macrocephalum and Dubautia ciliolata ssp. glutinosa. Homoeologueous copies of ASAP1 and ASAP3/TM6 show differing levels and patterns of nucleotide polymorphism. Duplicate ASAP1 copies have similar levels of nucleotide diversity and haplotype structure in both species; by contrast, duplicate ASAP3/TM6 genes display different levels and patterns of variation in D. ciliolata ssp. glutinosa. Additionally, D. ciliolata ssp. glutinosa appears to be segregating for a moderate frequency null allele in one ASAP3/TM6 homoeologue. These results suggest that differing evolutionary forces can affect duplicate loci arising from allopolyploidization.