Post-domestication selection in the maize starch pathway.
ABSTRACT: Modern crops have usually experienced domestication selection and subsequent genetic improvement (post-domestication selection). Chinese waxy maize, which originated from non-glutinous domesticated maize (Zea mays ssp. mays), provides a unique model for investigating the post-domestication selection of maize. In this study, the genetic diversity of six key genes in the starch pathway was investigated in a glutinous population that included 55 Chinese waxy accessions, and a selective bottleneck that resulted in apparent reductions in diversity in Chinese waxy maize was observed. Significant positive selection in waxy (wx) but not amylose extender1 (ae1) was detected in the glutinous population, in complete contrast to the findings in non-glutinous maize, which indicated a shift in the selection target from ae1 to wx during the improvement of Chinese waxy maize. Our results suggest that an agronomic trait can be quickly improved into a target trait with changes in the selection target among genes in a crop pathway.
Project description:Waxy maize (Zea mays L. var. certaina Kulesh), with many excellent characters in terms of starch composition and economic value, has grown in China for a long history and its production has increased dramatically in recent decades. However, the evolution and origin of waxy maize still remains unclear. We studied the genetic diversity of Chinese waxy maize including typical landraces and inbred lines by SSR analysis and the results showed a wide genetic diversity in the Chinese waxy maize germplasm. We analyzed the origin and evolution of waxy maize by sequencing 108 samples, and downloading 52 sequences from GenBank for the waxy locus in a number of accessions from genus Zea. A sharp reduction of nucleotide diversity and significant neutrality tests (Tajima's D and Fu and Li's F*) were observed at the waxy locus in Chinese waxy maize but not in nonglutinous maize. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Chinese waxy maize originated from the cultivated flint maize and most of the modern waxy maize inbred lines showed a distinct independent origin and evolution process compared with the germplasm from Southwest China. The results indicated that an agronomic trait can be quickly improved to meet production demand by selection.
Project description:Waxy maize has many excellent characteristics in terms of its nutritional and economic value. In recent decades, the waxy maize germplasm has increased dramatically as a result of different selection methods. We collected 200 waxy maize inbred accessions from different origins to study their genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships, and to identify new waxy mutations. A simple sequence repeat (SSR) analysis revealed wide genetic diversity among the 200 waxy maize accessions. The maize accessions were clustered into three groups. We sequenced the waxy gene from the first to the 14th exon. Nucleotide variation analysis of 167 waxy maize and 14 flint maize lines revealed some nucleotide differences in the waxy gene among different waxy maize groups, and much narrower nucleotide diversity in waxy maize than in flint maize. In a phylogenetic analysis, waxy maize carrying the same mutation allele clustered together, and waxy maize carrying different mutation alleles distributed in different groups; waxy maize was intermixed with flint maize in each branch, and wx-D7 waxy maize separated significantly from waxy maize lines carrying wx-D10, wx-124 and wx-hAT mutant alleles. The wx-hAT was a new waxy mutation identified in this study. It consisted of a 2286-bp transposon inserted into the middle of exon three of the waxy gene. A PCR marker specific for the wx-hAT allele was developed. These results will be useful for the utilization and preservation of the waxy maize germplasm, and the PCR marker has potential uses in waxy maize breeding programs.
Project description:Glutinous rice is a major type of cultivated rice with long-standing cultural importance in Asia. A mutation in an intron 1 splice donor site of the Waxy gene is responsible for the change in endosperm starch leading to the glutinous phenotype. Here we examine an allele genealogy of the Waxy locus to trace the evolutionary and geographical origins of this phenotype. On the basis of 105 glutinous and nonglutinous landraces from across Asia, we find evidence that the splice donor mutation has a single evolutionary origin and that it probably arose in Southeast Asia. Nucleotide diversity measures indicate that the origin of glutinous rice is associated with reduced genetic variation characteristic of selection at the Waxy locus; comparison with an unlinked locus, RGRC2, confirms that this pattern is specific to Waxy. In addition, we find that many nonglutinous varieties in Northeast Asia also carry the splice donor site mutation, suggesting that partial suppression of this mutation may have played an important role in the development of Northeast Asian nonglutinous rice. This study demonstrates the utility of phylogeographic approaches for understanding trait diversification in crops, and it contributes to growing evidence on the importance of modifier loci in the evolution of domestication traits.
Project description:Rice (Oryza sativa) was cultivated by Asian Neolithic farmers >11,000 years ago, and different cultures have selected for divergent starch qualities in the rice grain during and after the domestication process. An intron 1 splice donor site mutation of the Waxy gene is responsible for the absence of amylose in glutinous rice varieties. This mutation appears to have also played an important role in the origin of low amylose, nonglutinous temperate japonica rice varieties, which form a primary component of Northeast Asian cuisines. Waxy DNA sequence analyses indicate that the splice donor mutation is prevalent in temperate japonica rice varieties, but rare or absent in tropical japonica, indica, aus, and aromatic varieties. Sequence analysis across a 500-kb genomic region centered on Waxy reveals patterns consistent with a selective sweep in the temperate japonicas associated with the mutation. The size of the selective sweep (>250 kb) indicates very strong selection in this region, with an inferred selection coefficient that is higher than similar estimates from maize domestication genes or wild species. These findings demonstrate that selection pressures associated with crop domestication regimes can exceed by one to two orders of magnitude those observed for genes under even strong selection in natural systems.
Project description:BACKGROUND: During the domestication of crops, individual plants with traits desirable for human needs have been selected from their wild progenitors. Consequently, genetic and nucleotide diversity of genes associated with these selected traits in crop plants are expected to be lower than their wild progenitors. In the present study, we surveyed the pattern of nucleotide diversity of two selected trait specific genes, Wx and OsC1, which regulate amylose content and apiculus coloration respectively in cultivated rice varieties. The analyzed samples were collected from a wide geographic area in Northeast (NE) India, and included contrasting phenotypes considered to be associated with selected genes, namely glutinous and nonglutinous grains and colored and colorless apiculus. RESULTS: No statistically significant selection signatures were detected in both Wx and OsC1gene sequences. However, low level of selection that varied across the length of each gene was evident. The glutinous type varieties showed higher levels of nucleotide diversity at the Wx locus (?tot = 0.0053) than nonglutinous type varieties (?tot = 0.0043). The OsC1 gene revealed low levels of selection among the colorless apiculus varieties with lower nucleotide diversity (?tot = 0.0010) than in the colored apiculus varieties (?tot = 0.0023). CONCLUSIONS: The results revealed that functional mutations at Wx and OsC1genes considered to be associated with specific phenotypes do not necessarily correspond to the phenotypes in indigenous rice varieties in NE India. This suggests that other than previously reported genomic regions may also be involved in determination of these phenotypes.
Project description:In maize, opaque2 (o2) and opaque16 (o16) alleles can increase lysine content, while the waxy (wx) gene can enhance the amylopectin content of grains. In our study, o2 and o16 alleles were backcrossed into waxy maize line (wxwx). The o2o2o16o16wxwx lines had amylopectin contents similar to those of waxy line. Their nutritional value was better than waxy line, but the mechanism by which the o2 and o16 alleles increased the lysine content of waxy maize remained unclear. The o2o2o16o16wxwx lines and their parents on kernels (18th day after pollination) were subjected to RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). The RNA-Seq analysis revealed 272 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Functional analyses revealed that these DEGs were mainly related to biomass metabolism. Among them, in o2o2o16o16wxwx lines, 15 genes encoding ?-zein were down-regulated, which resulted in the reduction of ?-zein synthesis and increased lysine content; lkr/sdh1 and Zm00001d020984.1 genes involved in the lysine degradation pathway were down-regulated, thereby inhibited lysine degradation; sh2, bt2 and ae1 genes involved in starch metabolism were upregulated, leaded to wrinkling kernel and farinaceous endosperm. Our transcriptional-level identification of key genes responsible for increased grain lysine content and farinaceous endosperm formation following introgression of o2 and o16 alleles should promote molecular breeding for maize quality.
Project description:Genomic scans for genes that show the signature of past selection have been widely applied to a number of species and have identified a large number of selection candidate genes. In cultivated maize (Zea mays ssp. mays) selection scans have identified several hundred candidate domestication genes by comparing nucleotide diversity and differentiation between maize and its progenitor, teosinte (Z. mays ssp. parviglumis). One of these is a gene called zea agamous-like1 (zagl1), a MADS-box transcription factor, that is known for its function in the control of flowering time. To determine the trait(s) controlled by zagl1 that was (were) the target(s) of selection during maize domestication, we created a set of recombinant chromosome isogenic lines that differ for the maize versus teosinte alleles of zagl1 and which carry cross-overs between zagl1 and its neighbor genes. These lines were grown in a randomized trial and scored for flowering time and domestication related traits. The results indicated that the maize versus teosinte alleles of zagl1 affect flowering time as expected, as well as multiple traits related to ear size with the maize allele conferring larger ears with more kernels. Our results suggest that zagl1 may have been under selection during domestication to increase the size of the maize ear.
Project description:Foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.), the second most cultivated millet species, is well adapted to diverse environments and remains an important cereal food and forage crop in arid and semiarid regions worldwide. A symbolic crop for indigenous Austronesian peoples, foxtail millet has been cultivated in Taiwan for more than 5,000 years, and landraces reflect diversifying selection for various food applications. A total of 124 accessions collected within Taiwan were assessed for Wx genotypes. Four identified Wx alleles, I, III, IV, and IX were caused by insertion of various transposable elements (TEs) and resulted in endosperm with non-waxy, low amylose content (AC), and waxy, respectively. A total of 16.9%, 4.0%, 49.2%, and 29.8% of accessions were classified as type I, III, IV, and IX, respectively; approximately half of the accessions belonged to the waxy type, indicating that glutinous grains were favored for making traditional food and wine. The TE insertion affected splicing efficiency rather than accuracy, leading to significantly reduced expression of wx in types III, IV, and IX, although their transcripts were the same as wild-type, type I. Consequently, the granule-bound starch synthase I (GBSSI) contents of the three mutated genotypes were relatively low, leading to waxy or low AC endosperm, and the Wx genotypes could explain 78% of variance in AC. The geographic distribution of Wx genotypes are associated with culinary preferences and migration routes of Taiwanese indigenous peoples-in particular, the genotype of landraces collected from Orchid Island was distinct from those from Taiwan Island. This information on the major gene regulating starch biosynthesis in foxtail millet endosperm can be applied to breeding programs for grain quality, and contributes to knowledge of Austronesian cultures.
Project description:Seed traits have been targeted by human selection during the domestication of crop species as a way to increase the caloric and nutritional content of food during the transition from hunter-gather to early farming societies. The primary seed trait under selection was likely seed size/weight as it is most directly related to overall grain yield. Additional seed traits involved in seed shape may have also contributed to larger grain. Maize (Zea mays ssp. mays) kernel weight has increased more than 10-fold in the 9000 years since domestication from its wild ancestor, teosinte (Z. mays ssp. parviglumis). In order to study how size and shape affect kernel weight, we analyzed kernel morphometric traits in a set of 10 maize-teosinte introgression populations using digital imaging software. We identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for kernel area and length with moderate allelic effects that colocalize with kernel weight QTL. Several genomic regions with strong effects during maize domestication were detected, and a genetic framework for kernel traits was characterized by complex pleiotropic interactions. Our results both confirm prior reports of kernel domestication loci and identify previously uncharacterized QTL with a range of allelic effects, enabling future research into the genetic basis of these traits.
Project description:Sorghum has shown the adaptability necessary to sustain its improvement during time and geographical extension despite a genetic foundation constricted by domestication bottlenecks. Initially domesticated in the northeastern part of sub-Saharan Africa several millenia ago, sorghum quickly spread throughout Africa, and to Asia. We performed phylogeographic analysis of sequence diversity for six candidate genes for grain quality (Shrunken2, Brittle2, Soluble starch synthaseI, Waxy, Amylose extender1, and Opaque2) in a representative sample of sorghum cultivars. Haplotypes along 1-kb segments appeared little affected by recombination. Sequence similarity enabled clustering of closely related alleles and discrimination of two or three distantly related groups depending on the gene. This scheme indicated that sorghum domestication involved structured founder populations, while confirming a specific status for the guinea margaritiferum subrace. Allele rooted genealogy revealed derivation relationships by mutation or, less frequently, by recombination. Comparison of germplasm compartments revealed contrasts between genes. Sh2, Bt2, and SssI displayed a loss of diversity outside the area of origin of sorghum, whereas O2 and, to some extent, Wx and Ae1 displayed novel variation, derived from postdomestication mutations. These are likely to have been conserved under the effect of human selection, thus releasing valuable neodiversity whose extent will influence germplasm management strategies.