Genetic constraints on life-history evolution: Quantitative-trait loci influencing growth and flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana
We have mapped genes causing life-history trade-offs, and they behave as predicted by ecological theory. Energetic and quantitative-genetic models suggest a trade-off between age and size at first reproduction. Natural selection favored plants that flower early and attain large size at first reproduction. Response to selection was opposed by a genetic trade-off between these two components of fitness. Two quantitative-trait loci (QTLs) influencing flowering time were mapped in a recombinant inbred population of Arabidopsis. These QTLs also influenced size at first reproduction, but did not affect growth rate (resource acquisition). Substitutions of small chromosomal segments, which may represent allelic differences at flowering time loci, caused genetic trade-offs between life-history components. One QTL explained 22% of the genetic variation in flowering time. It is within a few centiMorgans (cM) of the gigantea (GI) locus, and may be allelic with GI. Sixteen percent of the genetic variation was explained by another QTL, FDR1 near 18 cM on chromosome II, which does not correspond to any previously identified flowering-time locus. These life-history genes regulate patterns of resource allocation and life-history trade-offs in this population.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page