Genetic determinants and epistasis for life history trait differences in the common monkeyflower, mimulus guttatus

Jannice Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Understanding the genetic basis of complex quantitative traits is a central problem in evolutionary biology, particularly for traits that may lead to adaptations in natural populations. The annual and perennial ecotypes of Mimulus guttatus provide an excellent experimental system for characterizing the genetic components of population divergence. The 2 life history ecotypes coexist throughout the geographic range. Focusing on population differences in life history traits, I examined the strength and direction of pairwise epistatic interactions between 2 target chromosomal regions (DIV1 and DIV2) when singly and cointrogressed into the alternate population's genetic background. I measured a suite of flowering and vegetative traits related to life history divergence in 804 plants from 18 reciprocal near-isogenic lines. I detected pleiotropic main effects for the DIV1 QTL in both genetic backgrounds and weaker main effects of the DIV2 QTL, primarily in the perennial background. Many of the traits showed epistatic interactions between alleles at the DIV1 and DIV2 QTL. Finally, for many traits, the magnitude of effect size was greater in the perennial background. I evaluate these results in the context of their potential role in population divergence in M. guttatus and adaptive evolution in natural populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-827
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • QTL
  • genetic interactions
  • life history
  • near-isogenic lines
  • phenotypic divergence
  • pleiotropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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