我中心孙丽丹等的学术成果“A model framework for identifying genes that guide the evolution of heterochrony”于近日发表于知名SCI期刊《Molecular Biology and Evolution》中。《Molecular Biology and Evolution》是进化生物学分类下的 2 区期刊，2014年该刊的影响因子为14.308。
Heterochrony, the phylogenic change in the time of developmental events or rate of development, has been thought to play an important role in producing phenotypic novelty during evolution. Increasing evidence suggests that specific genes are implicated in heterochrony, guiding the process of developmental divergence, but no quantitative models have been instrumented to map such heterochrony genes. Here we present a computational framework for genetic mapping by which to characterize and locate quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that govern heterochrony described by four parameters, the timing of the inflection point, the timing of maximum acceleration of growth, the timing of maximum deceleration of growth, and the length of linear growth. The framework was developed from functional mapping, a dynamic model derived to map QTLs for the overall process and pattern of development. By integrating an optimality algorithm, the framework allows the so-called heterochrony QTLs (h QTLs) to be tested and quantified. Specific pipelines are given for testing howh QTLs control the onset and offset of developmental events, the rate of development, and duration of a particular developmental stage. Computer simulation was performed to examine the statistical properties of the model and demonstrate its utility to characterize the effect of h QTLs on population diversification due to heterochrony. By analyzing a genetic mapping data in rice, the framework identified an h QTL that controls the timing of maximum growth rate and duration of linear growth stage in plant height growth. The framework provides a tool to study how genetic variation translates into phenotypic innovation, leading a lineage to evolve, through heterochrony.