Genomics of Climatic Adaptation in Populus Trichocarapa
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Temperate tree species exhibit seasonal growth cycling, and the timing of such transition varies with local climate. Under anthropogenic climate change, the local pattern of growth and dormancy in tree populations is expected to become uncoupled with shifting seasonal environmental signals, particularly temperature. Thus, an understanding of the genetic underpinnings of local adaptation is key to predicting the fate of tree populations in the future. In this thesis, we coupled sampling of range-wide natural accessions of P. trichocarpa with adaptive trait phenotyping and genome-wide genotyping to uncover relationships between genotype, phenotype, and environment. We detected strong correlations between adaptive phenotypes, climate, and geography, which suggested climatic selection driving adaptation of these populations to local environments. We subsequently combined genotype-phenotype association tests with sliding window analysis and identified regions strongly associated with these adaptive traits. We also compared adaptive markers identified in two independent GWAS on samples across latitude and altitude transects and found a set of associated variants shared across both transects. We further scanned the genome with three selection tests to identify regions showing evidence of recent positive and divergent selection. By comparing candidate selection regions across altitude and latitude, we detected a set of overlapping regions showing differentiation across gradients of the same climate variables. We validated the functional imortance of these selection regions by combining GWAS and showed that selection regions contain a strong signature of phenotypic associations. We also studied the distribution of deleterious allels across genome and natural populations, and found that deleterious alleles preferentially accumulate in regions of low recombination and hithihking regions. Finally, marginal populations contained more deleterious alleles compared with central populations, which is likely due to ineffective selection in small populations and recent bottlenecks associated with postglacial recolonization. These findings provide new insights into the genomic architecture underlying climatic adaptation and how selection drives adaptive evolution of tree species.
- Doctoral Dissertations