Differential Nucleotide Diversity and Linkage Disequilibrium Levels at Homoelogous Loci Associated with Fiber Traits in Cotton (G. barbadense L.)
The modern tetraploid species Gossypium barbadense L. (AD2) traces its origins to an allopolyploidy event between diploid progenitors G. raimondii (DT Genome, Americas) and G. herbaceum (AT Genome, Asia/Africa). In this study, nine fiber-related genes consisting of seven MYB transcription factors, a cellulose synthase homolog, and a tubulin homolog were resequenced across 54 G. barbadense lines spanning the wild-to-domesticated spectrum. Tests for nucleotide diversity (π), linkage disequilibrium (LD), and Tajima’s D were performed to examine the extent to which evolutionary forces have acted on these nine loci in G. barbadense. Results indicated that the AT-genome loci had significantly higher levels of diversity and lower levels of LD relative to homoelogous loci from the DT-genome. Additionally, all loci showed signatures of a population size expansion after a bottleneck or selective sweep and/or purifying selection. As previously shown for a sister tetraploid taxa (G. hirsutum), gene conversion resulting from a DT-genome allele invasion into the AT-genome likely explains the higher levels of diversity and lower levels of intragenic LD in the AT-genome. Given the relatively very low level of genetic diversity in elite lines, introduction of novel alleles from wild, land race, or obsolete lines into modern Pima cotton breeding programs is needed to expand the narrow gene pool of G. barbadense for continual yield improvements.