Spatial pattern of nucleotide polymorphism indicates molecular adaptation in the bryophyte Sphagnum fimbriatum.
In organisms with haploid-dominant life cycles, natural selection is expected to be especially effective because genetic variation is exposed directly to selection. However, in spore-producing plants with high dispersal abilities, among-population migration may counteract local adaptation by continuously redistributing genetic variability. In this study, we tested for adaptation at the molecular level by comparing nucleotide polymorphism in two genes (GapC and Rpb2) in 10 European populations of the peatmoss species, Sphagnum fimbriatum with variability at nine microsatellite loci assumed to be selectively neutral. In line with previous results, the GapC and Rpb2 genes showed strikingly different patterns of nucleotide polymorphism. Neutrality tests and comparison of population differentiation based on the GapC and Rpb2 genes with neutrally evolving microsatellites using coalescent simulations supported non-neutral evolution in GapC, but neutral evolution in the Rpb2 gene. These observations and the positions of the replacement mutations in the GAPDH enzyme (coded by GapC) indicate a significant impact of replacement mutations on enzyme function. Furthermore, the geographic distribution of alternate GapC alleles and/or linked genomic regions suggests that they have had differential success in the recolonization of Europe following the Last Glacial Maximum.
Szövényi, P; Hock, Z; Korpelainen, H; Shaw, AJ
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