• FST;
  • population genetics;
  • QST

Local adaptation provides an opportunity to study the genetic basis of adaptation and investigate the allelic architecture of adaptive genes. We study DELAY OF GERMINATION 1 (DOG1), a gene controlling natural variation in seed dormancy in Arabidopsis thaliana and investigate evolution of dormancy in 41 populations distributed in four regions separated by natural barriers. Using FST and QST comparisons, we compare variation at DOG1 with neutral markers and quantitative variation in seed dormancy. Patterns of genetic differentiation among populations suggest that the gene DOG1 contributes to local adaptation. Although QST for seed dormancy is not different from FST for neutral markers, a correlation with variation in summer precipitation supports that seed dormancy is adaptive. We characterize dormancy variation in several F2-populations and show that a series of functionally distinct alleles segregate at the DOG1 locus. Theoretical models have shown that the number and effect of alleles segregatin at quantitative trait loci (QTL) have important consequences for adaptation. Our results provide support to models postulating a large number of alleles at quantitative trait loci involved in adaptation.