Nucleotide diversity of vernalization and flowering-time-related genes in a germplasm collection of meadow fescue (Festuca pratensisHuds. syn.Lolium pratense(Huds.) Darbysh.) Academic Article uri icon


  • In plant species, control of flowering time is an important factor for adaptation to local natural environments. The Vrn1 , CO , FT1 and CK2α genes are key components in the flowering-specific signaling pathway of grass species. Meadow fescue is an agronomically important forage grass species, which is naturally distributed across Europe and Western Asia. In this study, meadow fescue flowering-time-related genes were resequenced to assess nucleotide diversity in European and Western Asian subpopulations. Identified sequence polymorphisms were then converted into PCR-based molecular genetic markers, and a meadow fescue germplasm collection was genotyped to investigate global allelic variation. Lower nucleotide diversities were observed for the Vrn1 and CO orthologs, while relatively higher values were observed for the FT1 and casein kinase II α-subunit (CK2α) orthologs. The nucleotide diversity for FT1 orthologs in the Western Asian subpopulation was significantly higher than those of the European subpopulation. Similarly, significant differences in nucleotide diversity for the remaining genes were observed between several combinations of subpopulation. The global allele distribution pattern was consistent with observed level of nucleotide diversity. These results suggested that the degree of purifying selection acting on the genes differs according to geographical location. As previously shown for model plant species, functional specificities of flowering-time-related genes may also vary according to environmental conditions.

publication date

  • November 2013