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Genetic variation within and among populations of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Abstract

We investigated levels of nucleotide polymorphism within and among populations of the highly self-fertilizing Brassicaceous species, Arabidopsis thaliana. Four-cutter RFLP data were collected at one mitochondrial and three nuclear loci from 115 isolines representing 11 worldwide population collections, as well as from seven commonly used ecotypes. The collections include multiple populations from North America and Eurasia, as well as two pairs of collections from locally proximate sites, and thus allow a hierarchical geographic analysis of polymorphism. We found no variation at the mitochondrial locus Nad5 and very low levels of intrapopulation nucleotide diversity at Adh, Dhs1, and Gpa1. Interpopulation nucleotide diversity was also consistently low among the loci, averaging 0.0014. gst, a measure of population differentiation, was estimated to be 0.643. Interestingly, we found no association between geographical distance between populations and genetic distance. Most haplotypes have a worldwide distribution, suggesting a recent expansion of the species or long-distance gene flow. The low level of polymorphism found in this study is consistent with theoretical models of neutral mutations and background selection in highly self-fertilizing species.

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