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TitleSeed shattering in a wild sorghum is conferred by a locus unrelated to domestication
AuthorsHaibao Tanga, Hugo E. Cuevas, Sayan Das, Uzay U. Sezen, Chengbo Zhou, Hui Guo, Valorie H. Goff, Zhengxiang Gee, Thomas E. Clemente, and Andrew H. Paterson
PublicationPNAS Early Edition
AbstractSuppression of seed shattering was a key step during crop domestication that we have previously suggested to be convergent among independent cereal lineages. Positional, association, expression, and mutant complementation data all implicate aWRKY transcription factor, SpWRKY, in conferring shattering to a wild sorghum relative, Sorghum propinquum. We hypothesize that SpWRKY functions in a manner analogous to Medicago and Arabidopsis homologs that regulate cell wall biosynthesis genes, with low expression toward the end of floral development derepressing downstream cell wall biosynthesis genes to allow deposition of lignin that initiates the abscission zone in the seed–pedicel junction. The recent discovery of a YABBY locus that confers shattering within Sorghum bicolor and other cereals validated our prior hypothesis that some parallel domestication may have been convergent. Ironically, however, the shattering allele of SpWRKY appears to be recently evolved in S. propinquum and illustrates a case in which the genetic control of a trait in a wild relative fails to extrapolate even to closely related crops. Remarkably, the SpWRKY and YABBY loci lie only 300 kb apart and may have appeared to be a single genetic locus in some sorghum populations.

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.: 2009 :: Barry Marler :: Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory :: University of Georgia