Population Level Purifying Selection and Gene Expression Shape Subgenome Evolution in Maize

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Abstract

The maize ancestor experienced a recent whole-genome duplication (WGD) followed by gene erosion which generated two subgenomes, the dominant subgenome (maize1) experiencing fewer deletions than maize2. We take advantage of available extensive polymorphism and gene expression data in maize to study purifying selection and gene expression divergence between WGD retained paralog pairs. We first report a strong correlation in nucleotide diversity between duplicate pairs, except for upstream regions. We then show that maize1 genes are under stronger purifying selection than maize2. WGD retained genes have higher gene dosage and biased Gene Ontologies consistent with previous studies. The relative gene expression of paralogs across tissues demonstrates that 98% of duplicate pairs have either subfunctionalized in a tissuewise manner or have diverged consistently in their expression thereby preventing functional complementation. Tissuewise subfunctionalization seems to be a hallmark of transcription factors, whereas consistent repression occurs for macromolecular complexes. We show that dominant gene expression is a strong determinant of the strength of purifying selection, explaining the inferred stronger negative selection on maize1 genes. We propose a novel expression-based classification of duplicates which is more robust to explain observed polymorphism patterns than the subgenome location. Finally, upstream regions of repressed genes exhibit an enrichment in transposable elements which indicates a possible mechanism for expression divergence.

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