Genome size, quantitative genetics, and floral adaptation in Silene latifolia

Thomas Robert Meagher, A G M Gillies, D E Costich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Back-ground and Aims The overall goal of this paper is to construct an overview of the genetic basis for flower size evolution in Silene latifolia. It aims to examine the relationship between the molecular bases for flower size and the underlying assumption of quantitative genetics theory that quantitative variation is ultimately due to the impact of a number of structural genes.

Scope Previous work is reviewed on the quantitative genetics and potential for response to selection on flower size. and the relationship between flower size and nuclear DNA content in S. latifolia. These earlier findings provide an framework within which to consider more recent analyses of a joint quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis of flower size and DNA content ill this species.

Key Results Flower size is a character that fits the classical quantitative genetics model of inheritance very nicely. However, an earlier finding that flower size is correlated with nuclear DNA content suggested that quantitative aspects of genome composition rather than allelic substitution at structural loci might play a major role in the evolution of flower size. The present results reported here show that QTL for flower size are correlated with QTL for DNA content, further corroborating ail earlier result and providing additional support for the conclusion that localized variations in DNA content underlie evolutionary changes in flower size.

Conclusions The search image for QTL should be broadened to include overall aspects of genome regulation. As we prepare to enter the much-heralded post-genomic era, we also need to revisit our overall models of the relationship between genotype and phenotype to encompass aspects of genome structure and composition beyond structural genes. (C) 2005 Annals of Botany Company.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-254
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Botany
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Silene latifolia
  • genome size
  • quantitative genetics
  • QTL
  • AFLP
  • evolutionary genomics
  • floral evolution


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