High-resolution mapping of theS-locus inTurneraleads to the discovery of three genes tightly associated with theS-alleles

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While the breeding system known as distyly has been used as a model system in genetics, and evolutionary biology for over a century, the genes determining this system remain unknown. To positionally clone genes determining distyly, a high-resolution map of the S-locus region of Turnera has been constructed using segregation data from 2,013 backcross progeny. We discovered three putative genes tightly linked with the S-locus. An N-acetyltransferase (TkNACE) flanks the S-locus at 0.35 cM while a sulfotransferase (TkST1) and a non-LTR retroelement (TsRETRO) show complete linkage to the S-locus. An assay of population samples of six species revealed that TsRETRO, initially discovered in diploid Turnerasubulata, is also associated with the S-allele in tetraploid T. subulata and diploid Turnera scabra. The sulfotransferase gene shows some level of differential expression in long versus short styles, indicating it might be involved in some aspect of distyly. The complete linkage of TkST1 and TsRETRO to the S-locus suggests that both genes may reside within, or in the immediate vicinity of the S-locus. Chromosome walking has been initiated using one of the genes discovered in the present study to identify the genes determining distyly.

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