Genetic causes and genomic consequences of breakdown of distyly in Linum trigynum.

Gutiérrez-Valencia J, Zervakis PI, Postel Z, Fracassetti M, Losvik A, Mehrabi S, Bunikis I, Soler L, Hughes PW, Désamoré A, Laenen B, Abdelaziz M, Pettersson OV, Arroyo J, Slotte T

Mol. Biol. Evol. - (-) - [2024-05-06; online 2024-05-06]

Distyly is an iconic floral polymorphism governed by a supergene, which promotes efficient pollen transfer and outcrossing through reciprocal differences in the position of sexual organs in flowers, often coupled with heteromorphic self-incompatibility (SI). Distyly has evolved convergently in multiple flowering plant lineages, but has also broken down repeatedly, often resulting in homostylous, self-compatible populations with elevated rates of self-fertilization. Here, we aimed to study the genetic causes and genomic consequences of the shift to homostyly in Linum trigynum, which is closely related to distylous Linum tenue. Building on a high-quality genome assembly, we show that L. trigynum harbors a genomic region homologous to the dominant haplotype of the distyly supergene conferring long stamens and short styles in L. tenue, suggesting that loss of distyly first occurred in a short-styled individual. In contrast to homostylous Primula and Fagopyrum, L. trigynum harbors no fixed loss-of-function mutations in coding sequences of S-linked distyly candidate genes. Instead, floral gene expression analyses and controlled crosses suggest that mutations downregulating the S-linked LtWDR-44 candidate gene for male SI and/or anther height could underlie homostyly and self-compatibility (SC) in L. trigynum. Population genomic analyses of 224 whole-genome sequences further demonstrate that L. trigynum is highly self-fertilizing, exhibits significantly lower genetic diversity genome-wide, and is experiencing relaxed purifying selection and less frequent positive selection on nonsynonymous mutations relative to L. tenue. Our analyses shed light on the loss of distyly in L. trigynum, and advance our understanding of a common evolutionary transition in flowering plants.

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PubMed 38709782

DOI 10.1093/molbev/msae087

Crossref 10.1093/molbev/msae087

pii: 7665594

Publications 9.5.0