-Local adaptation to climate is common in plant species and has been studied in a range of contexts, from improving crop yields to predicting population maladaptation to future condi- tions. The genomic era has brought new tools to study this process, which was historically explored through common garden experiments. - In this study, we combine genomic methods and common gardens to investigate local adaptation in red spruce and identify environmental gradients and loci involved in climate adaptation. We first use climate transfer functions to estimate the impact of climate change on seedling performance in three common gardens. We then explore the use of multivariate gene–environment association methods to identify genes underlying climate adaptation, with particular attention to the implications of conducting genome scans with and without correc- tion for neutral population structure. -This integrative approach uncovered phenotypic evidence of local adaptation to climate and identified a set of putatively adaptive genes, some of which are involved in three main adaptive pathways found in other temperate and boreal coniferous species: drought tolerance, cold hardiness, and phenology. These putatively adaptive genes segregated into two ‘modules’ associated with different environmental gradients. -This study nicely exemplifies the multivariate dimension of adaptation to climate inmore »
Dissecting the Polygenic Basis of Cold Adaptation Using Genome-Wide Association of Traits and Environmental Data in Douglas-fir
Understanding the genomic and environmental basis of cold adaptation is key to understand how plants survive and adapt to different environmental conditions across their natural range. Univariate and multivariate genome-wide association (GWAS) and genotype-environment association (GEA) analyses were used to test associations among genome-wide SNPs obtained from whole-genome resequencing, measures of growth, phenology, emergence, cold hardiness, and range-wide environmental variation in coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Results suggest a complex genomic architecture of cold adaptation, in which traits are either highly polygenic or controlled by both large and small effect genes. Newly discovered associations for cold adaptation in Douglas-fir included 130 genes involved in many important biological functions such as primary and secondary metabolism, growth and reproductive development, transcription regulation, stress and signaling, and DNA processes. These genes were related to growth, phenology and cold hardiness and strongly depend on variation in environmental variables such degree days below 0c, precipitation, elevation and distance from the coast. This study is a step forward in our understanding of the complex interconnection between environment and genomics and their role in cold-associated trait variation in boreal tree species, providing a baseline for the species’ predictions under climate change.
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