One of the most important technological advances by humans is the domestication of plant species for the production of food. We have used high-throughput sequencing to identify changes in DNA sequence and gene expression that differentiate cultivated tomato and its wild relatives. We also identify hundreds of candidate genes that have evolved new protein sequences or have changed expression levels in response to natural selection in wild tomato relatives. Taken together, our analyses provide a snapshot of genome evolution under artificial and natural conditions.Abstract
Although applied over extremely short timescales, artificial selection has dramatically altered the form, physiology, and life history of cultivated plants. We have used RNAseq to define both gene sequence and expression divergence between cultivated tomato and five related wild species. Based on sequence differences, we detect footprints of positive selection in over 50 genes. We also document thousands of shifts in gene-expression level, many of which resulted from changes in selection pressure. These rapidly evolving genes are commonly associated with environmental response and stress tolerance. The importance of environmental inputs during evolution of gene expression is further highlighted by large-scale alteration of the light response coexpression network between wild and cultivated accessions. Human manipulation of the genome has heavily impacted the tomato transcriptome through directed admixture and by indirectly favoring nonsynonymous over synonymous substitutions. Taken together, our results shed light on the pervasive effects artificial and natural selection have had on the transcriptomes of tomato and its wild relatives.