Genetic Diversity and Ecological Niche Modelling of Wild Barley: Refugia, Large-Scale Post-LGM Range Expansion and Limited Mid-Future Climate Threats?

ABSTRACT: Describing genetic diversity in wild barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum) in geographic and environmental space in the context of current, past and potential future climates is important for conservation and for breeding the domesticated crop (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare). Spatial genetic diversity in wild barley was revealed by both nuclear- (2,505 SNP, 24 nSSR) and chloroplast-derived (5 cpSSR) markers in 256 widely-sampled geo-referenced accessions. Results were compared with MaxEnt-modelled geographic distributions under current, past (Last Glacial Maximum, LGM) and mid-term future (anthropogenic scenario A2, the 2080s) climates. Comparisons suggest large-scale post-LGM range expansion in Central Asia and relatively small, but statistically significant, reductions in range-wide genetic diversity under future climate. Our analyses support the utility of ecological niche modelling for locating genetic diversity hotspots and determine priority geographic areas for wild barley conservation under anthropogenic climate change. Similar research on other cereal crop progenitors could play an important role in tailoring conservation and crop improvement strategies to support future human food security.

Category: Papers Genetic diversity
Authors: Russell, J. et al.
Publication Year: 2014

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