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Genome inversion gives plant a new lifestyle
Date:9/28/2010

work," Willis said.

Not only will these hardiness differences help drive the two ecotypes apart, their different flowering times will help prevent pollen-swapping that would mingle their genes. With time, they should become separate species, "depending on which definition of species you want to use," Lowry quickly added. "They're not full species, but they're going in that direction."

This is the first time in a natural setting that anyone has shown inversions directly affecting adaptation to local conditions and a shift between annual and perennial life history in plants. "We actually showed through experimentation that the inversion contributes to adaptation and reproductive isolation," Lowry said.

It took Lowry five years of meticulous lab work repetitively cross-breeding the plants and tromping around in mud to nail the monkeyflower inversions down and prove they accounted for the lifestyle differences.

For his efforts, he got a successful dissertation and a 2010 Ph.D. in biology, as well as a publication in the Sept. 28 edition of PLoS Biology with his adviser, associate professor of biology John Willis.


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Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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