Maize adaptation to temperate climate: relationship between population structure and polymorphism in the Dwarf8 gene

Genetics. 2006 Apr;172(4):2449-63. doi: 10.1534/genetics.105.048603. Epub 2006 Jan 16.


To investigate the genetic basis of maize adaptation to temperate climate, collections of 375 inbred lines and 275 landraces, representative of American and European diversity, were evaluated for flowering time under short- and long-day conditions. The inbred line collection was genotyped for 55 genomewide simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Comparison of inbred line population structure with that of landraces, as determined with 24 SSR loci, underlined strong effects of both historical and modern selection on population structure and a clear relationship with geographical origins. The late tropical groups and the early "Northern Flint" group from the northern United States and northern Europe exhibited different flowering times. Both collections were genotyped for a 6-bp insertion/deletion in the Dwarf8 (D8idp) gene, previously reported to be potentially involved in flowering time variation in a 102 American inbred panel. Among-group D8idp differentiation was much higher than that for any SSR marker, suggesting diversifying selection. Correcting for population structure, D8idp was associated with flowering time under long-day conditions, the deletion allele showing an average earlier flowering of 29 degree days for inbreds and 145 degree days for landraces. Additionally, the deletion allele occurred at a high frequency (>80%) in Northern Flint while being almost absent (<5%) in tropical materials. Altogether, these results indicate that Dwarf8 could be involved in maize climatic adaptation through diversifying selection for flowering time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Climate*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genome, Plant
  • Genotype
  • Geography
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Time Factors
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • D8 protein, Zea mays
  • Plant Proteins