Large-scale adaptive divergence in Boechera fecunda, an endangered wild relative of Arabidopsis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Many biological species are threatened with extinction because of a number of factors such as climate change and habitat loss, and their preservation depends on an accurate understanding of the extent of their genetic variability within and among populations. In this study, we assessed the genetic divergence of five quantitative traits in 10 populations of an endangered cruciferous species, Boechera fecunda, found in only several populations in each of two geographic regions (WEST and EAST) in southwestern Montana. We analyzed variation in quantitative traits, neutral molecular markers, and environmental factors and provided evidence that despite the restricted geographical distribution of this species, it exhibits a high level of genetic variation and regional adaptation. Conservation efforts therefore should be directed to the preservation of populations in each of these two regions without attempting transplantation between regions. Heritabilities and genetic coefficients of variation estimated from nested ANOVAs were generally high for leaf and rosette traits, although lower (and not significantly different from 0) for water-use efficiency. Measures of quantitative genetic differentiation, Q ST, were calculated for each trait from each pair of populations. For three of the five traits, these values were significantly higher between regions compared with those within regions (after adjustment for neutral genetic variation, F ST). This suggested that natural selection has played an important role in producing regional divergence in this species. Our analysis also revealed that the B. fecunda populations appear to be locally adapted due, at least in part, to differences in environmental conditions in the EAST and WEST regions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Leamy, LJ; Lee, C-R; Cousins, V; Mujacic, I; Manzaneda, AJ; Prasad, K; Mitchell-Olds, T; Song, B-H

Published Date

  • August 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 16

Start / End Page

  • 3175 - 3186

PubMed ID

  • 25473471

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4222205

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2045-7758

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2045-7758

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/ece3.1148


  • eng