Connecting genomic patterns of local adaptation and niche suitability in teosintes

The central abundance hypothesis predicts that local adaptation is a function of the distance to the centre of a species’ geographic range. To test this hypothesis, we gathered genomic diversity data from 49 populations, 646 individuals and 33,464 SNPs of two wild relatives of maize, the teosintes Zea mays ssp. parviglumis and Zea. mays. ssp. mexicana. We examined the association between the distance to their climatic and geographic centroids and the enrichment of SNPs bearing signals of adaptation. We identified candidate adaptive SNPs in each population by combining neutrality tests and cline analyses. By applying linear regression models, we found that the number of candidate SNPs is positively associated with niche suitability, while genetic diversity is reduced at the limits of the geographic distribution. Our results suggest that overall, populations located at the limit of the species’ niches are adapting locally. We argue that local adaptation to this limit could initiate ecological speciation processes and facilitate adaptation to global change.
Category: Genetic diversity
Authors: Aguirre-Liguori, J.A., et al.
Journal/Series: Molecular Ecology
Publication Year: 2017

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