In this work, we examined the genetic diversity and evolution of the WAG-2 gene based on new WAG-2 alleles isolated from wheat and its relatives. Only single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and no insertions and deletions (indels) were found in exon sequences of WAG-2 from different species. More SNPs and indels occurred in introns than in exons. For exons, exons+introns and introns, the nucleotide polymorphism π decreased from diploid and tetraploid genotypes to hexaploid genotypes. This finding indicated that the diversity of WAG-2 in diploids was greater than in hexaploids because of the strong selection pressure on the latter. All dn/ds ratios were < 1.0, indicating that WAG-2 belongs to a conserved gene affected by negative selection. Thirty-nine of the 57 particular SNPs and eight of the 10 indels were detected in diploid species. The degree of divergence in intron length among WAG-2 clones and phylogenetic tree topology suggested the existence of three homoeologs in the A, B or D genome of common wheat. Wheat AG-like genes were divided into WAG-1 and WAG-2 clades. The latter clade contained WAG-2, OsMADS3 and ZMM2 genes, indicating functional homoeology among them.
Keywords: Triticum; WAG-2; copy number variation; genetic diversity; molecular evolution.