Ecological genomics of local adaptation in Cornus florida L. by genotyping by sequencing

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Abstract

© 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Discovering local adaptation, its genetic underpinnings, and environmental drivers is important for conserving forest species. Ecological genomic approaches coupled with next-generation sequencing are useful means to detect local adaptation and uncover its underlying genetic basis in nonmodel species. We report results from a study on flowering dogwood trees (Cornus florida L.) using genotyping by sequencing (GBS). This species is ecologically important to eastern US forests but is severely threatened by fungal diseases. We analyzed subpopulations in divergent ecological habitats within North Carolina to uncover loci under local selection and associated with environmental–functional traits or disease infection. At this scale, we tested the effect of incorporating additional sequencing before scaling for a broader examination of the entire range. To test for biases of GBS, we sequenced two similarly sampled libraries independently from six populations of three ecological habitats. We obtained environmental–functional traits for each subpopulation to identify associations with genotypes via latent factor mixed modeling (LFMM) and gradient forests analysis. To test whether heterogeneity of abiotic pressures resulted in genetic differentiation indicative of local adaptation, we evaluated Fstper locus while accounting for genetic differentiation between coastal subpopulations and Piedmont-Mountain subpopulations. Of the 54 candidate loci with sufficient evidence of being under selection among both libraries, 28–39 were Arlequin–BayeScan Fstoutliers. For LFMM, 45 candidates were associated with climate (of 54), 30 were associated with soil properties, and four were associated with plant health. Reanalysis of combined libraries showed that 42 candidate loci still showed evidence of being under selection. We conclude environment-driven selection on specific loci has resulted in local adaptation in response to potassium deficiencies, temperature, precipitation, and (to a marginal extent) disease. High allele turnover along ecological gradients further supports the adaptive significance of loci speculated to be under selection.

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Pais, A. L., Whetten, R. W., & Xiang, Q. Y. J. (2017). Ecological genomics of local adaptation in Cornus florida L. by genotyping by sequencing. Ecology and Evolution, 7(1), 441–465. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2623

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