Vavilovian mimicry is an evolutionary process by which weeds evolve to resemble domesticated crop plants and is thought to be the result of unintentional selection by humans. Unravelling its molecular mechanisms will extend our knowledge of mimicry and contribute to our understanding of the origin and evolution of agricultural weeds, an important component of crop biology. To this end, we compared mimetic and non-mimetic populations of Echinochloa crus-galli from the Yangtze River basin phenotypically and by genome resequencing, and we show that this weed in rice paddies has evolved a small tiller angle, allowing it to phenocopy cultivated rice at the seedling stage. We demonstrate that mimetic lines evolved from the non-mimetic population as recently as 1,000 yr ago and were subject to a genetic bottleneck, and that genomic regions containing 87 putative plant architecture-related genes (including LAZY1, a key gene controlling plant tiller angle) were under selection during the mimicry process. Our data provide genome-level evidence for the action of human selection on Vavilovian mimicry.
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The custom scripts and pipelines used in this study have been deposited in Github (https://github.com/bioinplant/Vavilovian_mimicry).
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We thank H. Yamaguchi, S. Ge and G. Chen for their useful comments. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (grant number 9143511), the Zhejiang Natural Science Foundation (grant number LZ17C130001), the Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production, the 111 Project (grant number B17039) and the China Agriculture Research System (grant number CARS-01-02A).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Ye, C., Tang, W., Wu, D. et al. Genomic evidence of human selection on Vavilovian mimicry. Nat Ecol Evol 3, 1474–1482 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0976-1