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AbstractBackground-Explosive- adaptive radiations on islands remain one of the most puzzling evolutionary phenomena. The rate of phenotypic and ecological adaptations is extremely fast during such events, suggesting that many genes may be under fairly strong selection. However, no evidence for adaptation at the level of protein coding genes was found, so it has been suggested that selection may work mainly on regulatory elements. Here we report the first evidence that positive selection does operate at the level of protein coding genes during rapid adaptive radiations. We studied molecular adaptation in Hawaiian endemic plant genus Schiedea (Caryophyllaceae), which includes closely related species with a striking range of morphological and ecological forms, varying from rainforest vines to woody shrubs growing in desert-like conditions on cliffs. Given the remarkable difference in photosynthetic performance between Schiedea species from different habitats, we focused on the -photosynthetic- Rubisco enzyme, the efficiency of which is known to be a limiting step in plant photosynthesis.



Author: Maxim V. Kapralov, Dmitry A. Filatov

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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