Boechera, a model system for ecological genomics.
The selection and development of a study system for evolutionary and ecological functional genomics (EEFG) depend on a variety of factors. Here, we present the genus Boechera as an exemplary system with which to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Our focus on Boechera is based on several characteristics as follows: (i) native populations in undisturbed habitats where current environments reflect historical conditions over several thousand years; (ii) functional genomics benefitting from its close relationship to Arabidopsis thaliana; (iii) inbreeding tolerance enabling development of recombinant inbred lines, near-isogenic lines and positional cloning; (iv) interspecific crosses permitting mapping for genetic analysis of speciation; (v) apomixis (asexual reproduction by seeds) in a genetically tractable diploid; and (vi) broad geographic distribution in North America, permitting ecological genetics for a large research community. These characteristics, along with the current sequencing of three Boechera species by the Joint Genome Institute, position Boechera as a rapidly advancing system for EEFG studies.
Rushworth, CA; Song, B-H; Lee, C-R; Mitchell-Olds, T
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