Five anthocyanin polymorphisms are associated with an R2R3-MYB cluster in Mimulus guttatus (Phrymaceae).

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Premise of study

Botanists have long been interested in the reasons for genetic variation among individuals, populations, and species of plants. The anthocyanin pathway is ideal for studying the evolution of such phenotypic variation.


We used a combination of quantitative trait loci mapping and association studies to understand the genetic basis of variation in five anthocyanin phenotypes including calyx, corolla, and leaf coloration patterns that vary within and among populations of Mimulus guttatus. We then examined what genes might be responsible for this phenotypic variation and whether one of the traits, calyx spotting, is randomly distributed across the geographic range of the species.

Key results

All five phenotypes in M. guttatus were primarily controlled by the same major locus (PLA1), which contains a tandem array of three R2R3-MYB genes known to be involved in the evolution of flower color in a related species of Mimulus. Calyx spotting was nonrandomly distributed across the range of M. guttatus and correlated with multiple climate variables.


The results of this study suggest that variation in R2R3-MYB genes is the primary cause of potentially important anthocyanin phenotypic variation within and among populations of M. guttatus, a finding consistent with recent theoretical and empirical research on flower color evolution.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lowry, DB; Sheng, CC; Lasky, JR; Willis, JH

Published Date

  • January 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 99 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 82 - 91

PubMed ID

  • 22186184

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-2197

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9122

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3732/ajb.1100285


  • eng