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Geethu E., Thomas and Kiran A. , Geetha and Lesly , Augustine and George, Thomas (2016) Analyses between Reproductive Behavior, Genetic Diversity and Pythium Responsiveness in Zingiber spp. Reveal an Adaptive Significance for Hemiclonality. Frontiers in plant science, 7. ISSN 1664-462

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Mode of reproduction is generally considered to have long-range evolutionary implications on population survival. Because sexual reproduction produces genetically diverse genotypes, this mode of reproduction is predicted to positively influence the success potential of offspring in evolutionary arms race with parasites (Red queen) whereas, without segregation and recombination, the obligate asexual multiplication may push a species into extinction due to the steady accumulation of deleterious mutations (Muller’s ratchet). However, the extent of linearity between reproductive strategies, genetic diversity and population fitness, and the contributions of different breeding strategies to population fitness are yet to be understood clearly. Genus Zingiber belonging to the pan-tropic family Zingiberaceae represents a good system to study contributions of different breeding behavior on genetic diversity and population fitness, as this genus comprises species with contrasting breeding systems. In this study, we analyzed breeding behavior, amplified fragment length polymorphism diversity and response to the soft-rot pathogen Pythium aphanidermatum in 18 natural populations of three wild Zingiber spp.: Z. neesanum, Z. nimmonii, and Z. zerumbet, together with the obligately asexual cultivated congener, ginger (Z. officinale). Ginger showed an exceptionally narrow genetic base, and adding to this, all the tested cultivars were uniformly susceptible to soft-rot. Concordant with the postulates of Muller’s ratchet, the background selection may be continuously pushing ginger into the ancestral state, rendering it inefficient in host-pathogen coevolution. Z. neesanum and Z. nimmonii populations were sexual and genetically diverse; however, contrary to Red Queen expectations, the populations were highly susceptible to soft-rot. Z. zerumbet showed a hemiclonal breeding behavior. The populations inhabiting forest understory were large and continuous, sexual and genetically diverse, but were susceptible, whereas populations inhabiting the revenue land were fragmented and monoclonal, but were resistant. It may be possible that, when genetic recombination becomes at a premium due to the genetic constraints imparted by habitat fragmentation or pathogen pressure, Z. zerumbet trigger asexual methods in order to preserve genotypes with adaptive fitness. A co-evolutionary feedback seems to occur between defense and reproduction in Z. zerumbet. Presumably, species with hemiclonal potential may have a fair chance to survive ecological undulations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: breeding strategy, disease resistance, genetic diversity, Muller’s ratchet, Red Queen, Zingiber spp.
Subjects: Plant Disease Biology & Biotechnology
Depositing User: Rgcb Library
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2017 07:44
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2017 07:44
URI: http://rgcb.sciencecentral.in/id/eprint/457

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