Background. α-Amylase inhibitors are attractive candidates for the control of seed weevils, as these insects are highly dependent on starch as an energy source. In this study, we aimed to reveal the structure and diversity of dimeric α-amylase inhibitor genes in wild emmer wheat from Israel and to elucidate the relationship between the emmer wheat genes and ecological factors using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Another objective of this study was to find out whether there were any correlations between SNPs in functional protein-coding genes and the environment. Results. The influence of ecological factors on the genetic structure of dimeric α-amylase inhibitor genes was evaluated by specific SNP markers. A total of 244 dimeric α-amylase inhibitor genes were obtained from 13 accessions in 10 populations. Seventy-five polymorphic positions and 74 haplotypes were defined by sequence analysis. Sixteen out of the 75 SNP markers were designed to detect SNP variations in wild emmer wheat accessions from different populations in Israel. The proportion of polymorphic loci P (5%), the expected heterozygosity He, and Shannon's information index in the 16 populations were 0.887, 0.404, and 0.589, respectively. The populations of wild emmer wheat showed great diversity in gene loci both between and within populations. Based on the SNP marker data, the genetic distance of pair-wise comparisons of the 16 populations displayed a sharp genetic differentiation over long geographic distances. The values of P, He, and Shannon's information index were negatively correlated with three climatic moisture factors, whereas the same values were positively correlated by Spearman rank correlation coefficients' analysis with some of the other ecological factors. Conclusion. The populations of wild emmer wheat showed a wide range of diversity in dimeric α-amylase inhibitors, both between and within populations. We suggested that SNP markers are useful for the estimation of genetic diversity of functional genes in wild emmer wheat. These results show significant correlations between SNPs in the α-amylase inhibitor genes and ecological factors affecting diversity. Ecological factors, singly or in combination, explained a significant proportion of the variations in the SNPs, and the SNPs could be classified into several categories as ecogeographical predictors. It was suggested that the SNPs in the α-amylase inhibitor genes have been subjected to natural selection, and ecological factors had an important evolutionary influence on gene differentiation at specific loci.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Drs. George Fedak and Thérèse Ouellet (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), and Dr. Manyuan Long (Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, USA) for critical review of the manuscript. We also express our gratitude to the four anonymous reviewers for helpful comments to improve the manuscript. This work was supported by the National High Technology Research and the Development Program of China (863 program), the Key Technologies R&D Program of China (2006BAD01A02-23 and 2006BAD12B02), and the FANEDD project (200357 and 200458) from the Ministry of Education, China. Y.-M. Wei was supported by the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in the University of China (NECT-05-0814). Y.-L. Zheng was supported by the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Teams in University of China (IRT0453).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics