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Diversity and selective sweep in the OsAMT1;1 genomic region of rice

Zehong Ding1, Chongrong Wang1, Sheng Chen2 and Sibin Yu1*

Author Affiliations

1 National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, and the College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, PR China

2 School of Plant Biology, and International Centre for Plant Breeding Education and Research, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011, 11:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-61

Published: 8 March 2011



Ammonium is one of the major forms in which nitrogen is available for plant growth. OsAMT1;1 is a high-affinity ammonium transporter in rice (Oryza sativa L.), responsible for ammonium uptake at low nitrogen concentration. The expression pattern of the gene has been reported. However, variations in its nucleotides and the evolutionary pathway of its descent from wild progenitors are yet to be elucidated. In this study, nucleotide diversity of the gene OsAMT1;1 and the diversity pattern of seven gene fragments spanning a genomic region approximately 150 kb long surrounding the gene were surveyed by sequencing a panel of 216 rice accessions including both cultivated rice and wild relatives.


Nucleotide polymorphism (Pi) of OsAMT1;1 was as low as 0.00004 in cultivated rice (Oryza sativa), only 2.3% of that in the common wild rice (O. rufipogon). A single dominant haplotype was fixed at the locus in O. sativa. The test values for neutrality were significantly negative in the entire region stretching 5' upstream and 3' downstream of the gene in all accessions. The value of linkage disequilibrium remained high across a 100 kb genomic region around OsAMT1;1 in O. sativa, but fell rapidly in O. rufipogon on either side of the promoter of OsAMT1;1, demonstrating a strong natural selection within or nearby the ammonium transporter.


The severe reduction in nucleotide variation at OsAMT1;1 in rice was caused by a selective sweep around OsAMT1;1, which may reflect the nitrogen uptake system under strong selection by the paddy soil during the domestication of rice. Purifying selection also occurred before the wild rice diverged into its two subspecies, namely indica and japonica. These findings would provide useful insights into the processes of evolution and domestication of nitrogen uptake genes in rice.