Project description:The evolution from outcrossing to predominant self-fertilization represents one of the most common transitions in flowering plant evolution. This shift in mating system is almost universally associated with the "selfing syndrome," characterized by marked reduction in flower size and a breakdown of the morphological and genetic mechanisms that prevent self-fertilization. In general, the timescale in which these transitions occur, and the evolutionary dynamics associated with the evolution of the selfing syndrome are poorly known. We investigated the origin and evolution of selfing in the annual plant Capsella rubella from its self-incompatible, outcrossing progenitor Capsella grandiflora by characterizing multilocus patterns of DNA sequence variation at nuclear genes. We estimate that the transition to selfing and subsequent geographic expansion have taken place during the past 20,000 years. This transition was probably associated with a shift from stable equilibrium toward a near-complete population bottleneck causing a major reduction in effective population size. The timing and severe founder event support the hypothesis that selfing was favored during colonization as new habitats emerged after the last glaciation and the expansion of agriculture. These results suggest that natural selection for reproductive assurance can lead to major morphological evolution and speciation on relatively short evolutionary timescales.
Project description:The selfing syndrome constitutes a suite of floral and reproductive trait changes that have evolved repeatedly across many evolutionary lineages in response to the shift to selfing. Convergent evolution of the selfing syndrome suggests that these changes are adaptive, yet our understanding of the detailed molecular genetic basis of the selfing syndrome remains limited. Here, we investigate the role of cis-regulatory changes during the recent evolution of the selfing syndrome in Capsella rubella, which split from the outcrosser Capsella grandiflora less than 200 ka. We assess allele-specific expression (ASE) in leaves and flower buds at a total of 18,452 genes in three interspecific F1 C. grandiflora x C. rubella hybrids. Using a hierarchical Bayesian approach that accounts for technical variation using genomic reads, we find evidence for extensive cis-regulatory changes. On average, 44% of the assayed genes show evidence of ASE; however, only 6% show strong allelic expression biases. Flower buds, but not leaves, show an enrichment of cis-regulatory changes in genomic regions responsible for floral and reproductive trait divergence between C. rubella and C. grandiflora. We further detected an excess of heterozygous transposable element (TE) insertions near genes with ASE, and TE insertions targeted by uniquely mapping 24-nt small RNAs were associated with reduced expression of nearby genes. Our results suggest that cis-regulatory changes have been important during the recent adaptive floral evolution in Capsella and that differences in TE dynamics between selfing and outcrossing species could be important for rapid regulatory divergence in association with mating system shifts.
Project description:The transition from outcrossing to predominant self-fertilization is one of the most common evolutionary transitions in flowering plants. This shift is often accompanied by a suite of changes in floral and reproductive characters termed the selfing syndrome. Here, we characterize the genetic architecture and evolutionary forces underlying evolution of the selfing syndrome in Capsella rubella following its recent divergence from the outcrossing ancestor C. grandiflora. We conduct genotyping by multiplexed shotgun sequencing and map floral and reproductive traits in a large (N= 550) F2 population. Our results suggest that in contrast to previous studies of the selfing syndrome, changes at a few loci, some with major effects, have shaped the evolution of the selfing syndrome in Capsella. The directionality of QTL effects, as well as population genetic patterns of polymorphism and divergence at 318 loci, is consistent with a history of directional selection on the selfing syndrome. Our study is an important step toward characterizing the genetic basis and evolutionary forces underlying the evolution of the selfing syndrome in a genetically accessible model system.
Project description:Background and Aims:Capsella is a model genus for studying the transition from outcrossing to selfing, with or without change in ploidy levels. The genomic consequences and changes in reproductive traits (selfing syndrome) associated with these shifts have been studied in depth. However, potential ecological divergence among species of the genus has not been determined. Among ecological traits, competitive ability could be relevant for selfing evolution, as selfing has been shown to be statistically associated with reduced competitiveness in a recent meta-analysis. Methods:We assessed the effect of competition on three Capsella species differing in their mating system and ploidy level. We used an experimental design where fitness related traits were measured in focal individuals with and without competitors. Key Results:The diploid selfer (C. rubella) was most sensitive to competition, whereas the tetraploid selfer (C. bursa-pastoris) performed the best, with the diploid outcrosser (C. grandiflora) being intermediate. Conclusions:These results add to the detailed characterization of Capsella species and highlight the possible roles of ecological context and ploidy in the evolutionary trajectories of selfing species.
Project description:Flowering plants often prevent selfing through mechanisms of self-incompatibility (S.I.). The loss of S.I. has occurred many times independently, because it provides short-term advantages in situations where pollinators or mates are rare. The genus Capsella, which is closely related to Arabidopsis, contains a pair of closely related diploid species, the self-incompatible Capsella grandiflora and the self-compatible Capsella rubella. To elucidate the transition to selfing and its relationship to speciation of C. rubella, we have made use of comparative sequence information. Our analyses indicate that C. rubella separated from C. grandiflora recently ( approximately 30,000-50,000 years ago) and that breakdown of S.I. occurred at approximately the same time. Contrasting the nucleotide diversity patterns of the 2 species, we found that C. rubella has only 1 or 2 alleles at most loci, suggesting that it originated through an extreme population bottleneck. Our data are consistent with diploid speciation by a single, selfing individual, most likely living in Greece. The new species subsequently colonized the Mediterranean by Northern and Southern routes, at a time that also saw the spread of agriculture. The presence of phenotypic diversity within modern C. rubella suggests that this species will be an interesting model to understand divergence and adaptation, starting from very limited standing genetic variation.
Project description:Morphological variation is the basis of natural diversity and adaptation. For example, angiosperms (flowering plants) evolved during the Cretaceous period more than 100 mya and quickly colonized terrestrial habitats . A major reason for their astonishing success was the formation of fruits, which exist in a myriad of different shapes and sizes . Evolution of organ shape is fueled by variation in expression patterns of regulatory genes causing changes in anisotropic cell expansion and division patterns [3-5]. However, the molecular mechanisms that alter the polarity of growth to generate novel shapes are largely unknown. The heart-shaped fruits produced by members of the Capsella genus comprise an anatomical novelty, making it particularly well suited for studies on morphological diversification [6-8]. Here, we show that post-translational modification of regulatory proteins provides a critical step in organ-shape formation. Our data reveal that the SUMO protease, HEARTBREAK (HTB), from Capsella rubella controls the activity of the key regulator of fruit development, INDEHISCENT (CrIND in C. rubella), via de-SUMOylation. This post-translational modification initiates a transduction pathway required to ensure precisely localized auxin biosynthesis, thereby facilitating anisotropic cell expansion to ultimately form the heart-shaped Capsella fruit. Therefore, although variation in the expression of key regulatory genes is known to be a primary driver in morphological evolution, our work demonstrates how other processes-such as post-translational modification of one such regulator-affects organ morphology.
Project description:Mating system shifts recurrently drive specific changes in organ dimensions. The shift in mating system from out-breeding to selfing is one of the most frequent evolutionary transitions in flowering plants and is often associated with an organ-specific reduction in flower size. However, the evolutionary paths along which polygenic traits, such as size, evolve are poorly understood. In particular, it is unclear how natural selection can specifically modulate the size of one organ despite the pleiotropic action of most known growth regulators. Here, we demonstrate that allelic variation in the intron of a general growth regulator contributed to the specific reduction of petal size after the transition to selfing in the genus Capsella Variation within this intron affects an organ-specific enhancer that regulates the level of STERILE APETALA (SAP) protein in the developing petals. The resulting decrease in SAP activity leads to a shortening of the cell proliferation period and reduced number of petal cells. The absence of private polymorphisms at the causal region in the selfing species suggests that the small-petal allele was captured from standing genetic variation in the ancestral out-crossing population. Petal-size variation in the current out-crossing population indicates that several small-effect mutations have contributed to reduce petal-size. These data demonstrate how tissue-specific regulatory elements in pleiotropic genes contribute to organ-specific evolution. In addition, they provide a plausible evolutionary explanation for the rapid evolution of flower size after the out-breeding-to-selfing transition based on additive effects of segregating alleles.
Project description:The outcome of species range expansion depends on the interplay of demographic, environmental and genetic factors. Self-fertilizing species usually show a higher invasive ability than outcrossers but selfing and bottlenecks during colonization also lead to an increased genetic load. The relationship between genomic and phenotypic characteristics of expanding populations has, hitherto, rarely been tested experimentally. We analysed how accessions of the shepherd's purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris, from the colonization front or from the core of the natural range performed under increasing density of competitors. First, accessions from the front showed a lower fitness than those from the core. Second, for all accessions, competitor density impacted negatively both vegetative growth and fruit production. However, despite their higher genetic load and lower absolute performances, accessions from the front were less affected by competition than accessions from the core. This seems to be due to phenotypic trade-offs and a shift in phenology that allow accessions from the front to avoid competition.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Despite having predominately deleterious fitness effects, transposable elements (TEs) are major constituents of eukaryote genomes in general and of plant genomes in particular. Although the proportion of the genome made up of TEs varies at least four-fold across plants, the relative importance of the evolutionary forces shaping variation in TE abundance and distributions across taxa remains unclear. Under several theoretical models, mating system plays an important role in governing the evolutionary dynamics of TEs. Here, we use the recently sequenced Capsella rubella reference genome and short-read whole genome sequencing of multiple individuals to quantify abundance, genome distributions, and population frequencies of TEs in three recently diverged species of differing mating system, two self-compatible species (C. rubella and C. orientalis) and their self-incompatible outcrossing relative, C. grandiflora. RESULTS: We detect different dynamics of TE evolution in our two self-compatible species; C. rubella shows a small increase in transposon copy number, while C. orientalis shows a substantial decrease relative to C. grandiflora. The direction of this change in copy number is genome wide and consistent across transposon classes. For insertions near genes, however, we detect the highest abundances in C. grandiflora. Finally, we also find differences in the population frequency distributions across the three species. CONCLUSION: Overall, our results suggest that the evolution of selfing may have different effects on TE evolution on a short and on a long timescale. Moreover, cross-species comparisons of transposon abundance are sensitive to reference genome bias, and efforts to control for this bias are key when making comparisons across species.