Genome and population dynamics under selection and neutrality: an example of S-allele diversity in wild cherry (Prunus avium L.)
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- Ganopoulos, I., Aravanopoulos, F., Argiriou, A. et al. Tree Genetics & Genomes (2012) 8: 1181. doi:10.1007/s11295-012-0504-9
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Self-incompatibility, a common attribute of plant development, forms a classical paradigm of balancing selection in natural populations, in particular negative frequency-dependent selection. Under negative frequency-dependent selection population genetics theory predicts that the S-locus, being in command of self-incompatibility, keeps numerous alleles in equal frequencies demonstrating a wide allelic range. Moreover, while natural populations exhibit a higher within population genetic diversity, a reduction of population differentiation and increase of effective migration rate is expected in comparison to neutral loci. Allelic frequencies were investigated in terms of distribution and genetic structure at the gametophytic self-incompatibility locus in five wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) populations. Comparisons were also made between the differentiation at the S-locus and at the SSR loci. Theoretical expectations under balancing selection were congruent to the results observed. The S-locus showed broad multiplicity (16 S-alleles), high genetic diversity, and allelic isoplethy. Genetic structure at the self-incompatibility locus was almost four times lower than at 11 nSSR loci. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that only 5 % of the total genetic variation concerns differentiation among populations. In conclusion, the wealth of S-allelic diversity found in natural wild cherry populations in Greece is useful not only in advancing basic population genetics research of self-incompatibility systems in wild cherry but also in the development of breeding programs.