Finding needles in a genomic haystack: targeted capture identifies clear signatures of selection in a nonmodel plant species

Matthew J. Christmas, Ed Biffin, Martin F. Breed, Andrew J. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Teasing apart neutral and adaptive genomic processes and identifying loci that are targets of selection can be difficult, particularly for nonmodel species that lack a reference genome. However, identifying such loci and the factors driving selection have the potential to greatly assist conservation and restoration practices, especially for the management of species in the face of contemporary and future climate change. Here, we focus on assessing adaptive genomic variation within a nonmodel plant species, the narrow-leaf hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa ssp. angustissima), commonly used for restoration in Australia. We used a hybrid-capture target enrichment approach to selectively sequence 970 genes across 17 populations along a latitudinal gradient from 30°S to 36°S. We analysed 8462 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for FST outliers as well as associations with environmental variables. Using three different methods, we found 55 SNPs with significant correlations to temperature and water availability, and 38 SNPs to elevation. Genes containing SNPs identified as under environmental selection were diverse, including aquaporin and abscisic acid genes, as well as genes with ontologies relating to responses to environmental stressors such as water deprivation and salt stress. Redundancy analysis demonstrated that only a small proportion of the total genetic variance was explained by environmental variables. We demonstrate that selection has led to clines in allele frequencies in a number of functional genes, including those linked to leaf shape and stomatal variation, which have been previously observed to vary along the sampled environmental cline. Using our approach, gene regions subject to environmental selection can be readily identified for nonmodel organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4216-4233
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular Ecology
Volume25
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dodonaea viscosa
  • F ST
  • gene-environment associations
  • hybrid-capture
  • shrub

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