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      Evolution of Hypervariable Microsatellites in Apomictic Polyploid Lineages ofRanunculus carpaticola: Directional Bias at Dinucleotide Loci

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      Genetics

      Genetics Society of America

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          Abstract

          Microsatellites are widely used in genetic and evolutionary analyses, but their own evolution is far from simple. The mechanisms maintaining the mutational patterns of simple repeats and the typical stable allele-frequency distributions are still poorly understood. Asexual lineages may provide particularly informative models for the indirect study of microsatellite evolution, because their genomes act as complete linkage groups, with mutations being the only source of genetic variation. Here, we study the direction of accumulated dinucleotide microsatellite mutations in wild asexual lineages of hexaploid Ranunculus carpaticola. Whereas the overall number of contractions is not significantly different from that of expansions, the within-locus frequency of contractions, but not of expansions, significantly increases with allele length. Moreover, within-locus polymorphism is positively correlated with allele length, but this relationship is due solely to the influence of contraction mutations. Such asymmetries may explain length constraints generally observed with microsatellites and are consistent with stable, bell-shaped allele-frequency distributions. Although apomictic and allohexaploid, the R. carpaticola lineages show mutational patterns resembling the trends observed in a broad range of organisms, including sexuals and diploids, suggesting that, even if not of germline origin, the mutations in these apomicts may be the consequence of similar mechanisms.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Multiple Hypothesis Testing

           J. Shaffer (1995)
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            Evolutionary dynamics of microsatellite DNA.

            Within the past decade microsatellites have developed into one of the most popular genetic markers. Despite the widespread use of microsatellite analysis, an integral picture of the mutational dynamics of microsatellite DNA is just beginning to emerge. Here, I review both generally agreed and controversial results about the mutational dynamics of microsatellite DNA. Microsatellites are short DNA sequence stretches in which a motif of one to six bases is tandemly repeated. It has been known for some time that these sequences can differ in repeat number among individuals. With the advent of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology this property of microsatellite DNA was converted into a highly versatile genetic marker (Litt and Luty 1989; Tautz 1989; Weber and May 1989). Polymerase chain reaction products of different length can be amplified with primers flanking the variable microsatellite region. Due to the availability of high-throughput capillary sequencers or mass spectrography the sizing of alleles is no longer a bottleneck in microsatellite analysis. The almost random distribution of microsatellites and their high level of polymorphism greatly facilitated the construction of genetic maps (Dietrich et al. 1994; Dib et al. 1996) and enabled subsequent positional cloning of several genes. Almost at the same time, microsatellites were established as the marker of choice for the identification of individuals and paternity testing. The high sensitivity of PCR-based microsatellite analysis was not only of great benefit for forensics, but opened completely new research areas, such as the analysis of samples with limited DNA amounts (e.g., many social insects) or degraded DNA (e.g., feces, museum material) (Schlötterer and Pemberton 1998). More recently, microsatellite analysis has also been employed in population genetics (Goldstein and Schlötterer 1999). Compared with allozymes, microsatellites offer the advantage that, in principle, several thousand potentially polymorphic markers are available. Nevertheless, the application of microsatellites to population genetic questions requires a more detailed understanding of the mutation processes of microsatellite DNA as the evolutionary time frames covered in population genetics are often too long to allow novel microsatellite mutations to be ignored. Additional interest in the evolution of microsatellite DNA comes from the discovery that trinucleotide repeats, a special class of microsatellites, are involved in human neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., fragile X and Huntington's disease). A detailed understanding of the processes underlying microsatellite instability is therefore an important contribution toward a better understanding of these human neurodegenerative diseases.
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              Apomixis: a developmental perspective.

              The term apomixis encompasses a suite of processes whereby seeds form asexually in plants. In contrast to sexual reproduction, seedlings arising from apomixis retain the genotype of the maternal parent. The transfer of apomixis and its effective utilization in crop plants (where it is largely absent) has major advantages in agriculture. The hallmark components of apomixis include female gamete formation without meiosis (apomeiosis), fertilization-independent embryo development (parthenogenesis), and developmental adaptations to ensure functional endosperm formation. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying apomixis, a developmentally fascinating phenomenon in plants, is critical for the successful induction and utilization of apomixis in crop plants. This review draws together knowledge gained from analyzing ovule, embryo, and endosperm development in sexual and apomictic plants. It consolidates the view that apomixis and sexuality are closely interrelated developmental pathways where apomixis can be viewed as a deregulation of the sexual process in both time and space.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Genetics
                Genetics
                Genetics Society of America
                0016-6731
                1943-2631
                September 20 2006
                September 2006
                September 2006
                June 18 2006
                : 174
                : 1
                : 387-398
                Article
                10.1534/genetics.105.052761
                1569770
                16783024
                © 2006

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