MADS-box genes of maize: frequent targets of selection during domestication

Genet Res (Camb). 2011 Feb;93(1):65-75. doi: 10.1017/S0016672310000509. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


MADS-box genes encode transcription factors that are key regulators of plant inflorescence and flower development. We examined DNA sequence variation in 32 maize MADS-box genes and 32 randomly chosen maize loci and investigated their involvement in maize domestication and improvement. Using neutrality tests and a test based on coalescent simulation of a bottleneck model, we identified eight MADS-box genes as putative targets of the artificial selection associated with domestication. According to neutrality tests, one additional MADS-box gene appears to have been under selection during modern agricultural improvement of maize. For random loci, two genes were indicated as targets of selection during domestication and four additional genes were indicated to be candidate-selected loci for maize improvement. These results suggest that MADS-box genes were more frequent targets of selection during domestication than genes chosen at random from the genome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Plant*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Plant
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Selection, Genetic / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / metabolism


  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors