Multiple FLC haplotypes defined by independent cis-regulatory variation underpin life history diversity in Arabidopsis thaliana

Peijin Li, Daniele Filiault, Mathew S. Box, Envel Kerdaffrec, Cock van Oosterhout, Amity M. Wilczek, Johanna Schmitt, Mark Mcmullan, Joy Bergelson, Magnus Nordborg, Caroline Dean

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Relating molecular variation to phenotypic diversity is a central goal in evolutionary biology. In Arabidopsis thaliana, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) is a major determinant of variation in vernalization—the acceleration of flowering by prolonged cold. Here, through analysis of 1307 A. thaliana accessions, we identify five predominant FLC haplotypes defined by noncoding sequence variation. Genetic and transgenic experiments show that they are functionally distinct, varying in FLC expression level and rate of epigenetic silencing. Allelic heterogeneity at this single locus accounts for a large proportion of natural variation in vernalization that contributes to adaptation of A. thaliana.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1640
Number of pages6
JournalGenes & Development
Issue number15
Early online date17 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • allelic heterogeneity
  • noncoding polymorphism
  • vernalization
  • adaptation

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