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Correlated genetic effects on reproduction define a domestication syndrome in a forest tree.
Compared to natural selection, domestication implies a dramatic change in traits linked to fitness. A number of traits conferring fitness in the wild might be detrimental under domestication, and domesticated species typically differ from their ancestors in a set of traits known as the domestication syndrome. Specifically, trade-offs between growth and reproduction are well established across the tree of life. According to allocation theory, selection for growth rate is expected to indirectly alter life-history reproductive traits, diverting resources from reproduction to growth. Here we tested this hypothesis by examining the genetic change and correlated responses of reproductive traits as a result of selection for timber yield in the tree Pinus pinaster. Phenotypic selection was carried out in a natural population, and progenies from selected trees were compared with those of control trees in a common garden experiment. According to expectations, we detected a genetic change in important life-history traits due to selection. Specifically, threshold sizes for reproduction were much higher and reproductive investment relative to size significantly lower in the selected progenies just after a single artificial selection event. Our study helps to define the domestication syndrome in exploited forest trees and shows that changes affecting developmental pathways are relevant in domestication processes of long-lived plants.
adaptation, artificial selection, domestication syndrome, fitness traits, genetic change
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