From The Polyploidy Portal

Genetic basis for dosage sensitivity in Arabidopsis thaliana

Henry IM, Dilkes BP, Comai L.
Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Aneuploidy, the relative excess or deficiency of specific chromosome types, results in gene dosage imbalance. Plants can produce viable and fertile aneuploid individuals, while most animal aneuploids are inviable or developmentally abnormal. The swarms of aneuploid progeny produced by Arabidopsis triploids constitute an excellent model to investigate the mechanisms governing dosage sensitivity and aneuploid syndromes. Indeed, genotype alters the frequency of aneuploid types within these swarms. Recombinant inbred lines that were derived from a triploid hybrid segregated into diploid and tetraploid individuals. In these recombinant inbred lines, a single locus, which we call SENSITIVE TO DOSAGE IMBALANCE (SDI), exhibited segregation distortion in the tetraploid subpopulation only. Recent progress in quantitative genotyping now allows molecular karyotyping and genetic analysis of aneuploid populations. In this study, we investigated the causes of the ploidy-specific distortion at SDI. Allele frequency was distorted in the aneuploid swarms produced by the triploid hybrid. We developed a simple quantitative measure for aneuploidy lethality and using this measure demonstrated that distortion was greatest in the aneuploids facing the strongest viability selection. When triploids were crossed to euploids, the progeny, which lack severe aneuploids, exhibited no distortion at SDI. Genetic characterization of SDI in the aneuploid swarm identified a mechanism governing aneuploid survival, perhaps by buffering the effects of dosage imbalance. As such, SDI could increase the likelihood of retaining genomic rearrangements such as segmental duplications. Additionally, in species where triploids are fertile, aneuploid survival would facilitate gene flow between diploid and tetraploid populations via a triploid bridge and prevent polyploid speciation. Our results demonstrate that positional cloning of loci affecting traits in populations containing ploidy and chromosome number variants is now feasible using quantitative genotyping approaches. [1]

  1. Henry IM et al. (2007) Genetic basis for dosage sensitivity in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Genet 3: e70 PubMed
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