The population genomic signature of environmental selection in the widespread insect-pollinated tree species Frangula alnus at different geographical scales

H. De Kort, K. Vandepitte, J. Mergeay, Kristine Vander Mijnsbrugge, O. Honnay

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    Abstract

    The evaluation of the molecular signatures of selection in species lacking an available closely related reference genome remains challenging, yet it may provide valuable fundamental insights into the capacity of populations to respond to environmental cues. We screened 25 native populations of the tree species Frangula alnus subsp. alnus (Rhamnaceae), covering three different geographical scales, for 183 annotated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Standard population genomic outlier screens were combined with individual-based and multivariate landscape genomic approaches to examine the strength of selection relative to neutral processes in shaping genomic variation, and to identify the main environmental agents driving selection. Our results demonstrate a more distinct signature of selection with increasing geographical distance, as indicated by the proportion of SNPs (i) showing exceptional patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation (outliers) and (ii) associated with climate. Both temperature and precipitation have an important role as selective agents in shaping adaptive genomic differentiation in F. alnus subsp. alnus, although their relative importance differed among spatial scales. At the /`intermediate/' and /`regional/' scales, where limited genetic clustering and high population diversity were observed, some indications of natural selection may suggest a major role for gene flow in safeguarding adaptability. High genetic diversity at loci under selection in particular, indicated considerable adaptive potential, which may nevertheless be compromised by the combined effects of climate change and habitat fragmentation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalHeredity
    Volume115
    Pages (from-to)415-425
    Number of pages11
    ISSN0018-067X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Thematic list

    • Species and biotopes

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B003-ecology
    • B004-botany

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