Human selection during crop domestication has resulted in remarkable transformations of plant phenotypes, providing a window into the genetic basis of morphological evolution. Recent progress in our understanding of the genetic architecture of novel plant traits has emerged from combining advanced molecular technologies with improved experimental designs, including nested association mapping, genome-wide association studies, population genetic screens for signatures of selection, and candidate gene approaches. These studies reveal a diversity of underlying causative mutations affecting phenotypes important in plant domestication and crop improvement, including coding sequence substitutions, presence/absence and copy number variation, transposon activation leading to novel gene structures and expression patterns, diversification following gene duplication, and polyploidy leading to altered combinatorial capabilities. The genomic regions unknowingly targeted by human selection include both structural and regulatory genes, often with results that propagate through the transcriptome as well as to other levels in the biosynthetic and morphogenetic networks.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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