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Article|01 Aug 2020|OPEN
Genome sequencing and population genomics modeling provide insights into the local adaptation of weeping forsythia
Lin-Feng Li1,2, Samuel A. Cushman3, Yan-Xia He4 & Yong Li1,
1Innovation Platform of Molecular Biology, College of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China
2Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
3U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2500 S. Pine Knoll Dr., Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
4School of Life Sciences, Henan University, Kaifeng, China

Horticulture Research 7,
Article number: 20130 (2020)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2020.130
Views: 125

Received: 26 Mar 2020
Revised: 24 May 2020
Accepted: 24 May 2020
Published online: 01 Aug 2020


Understanding the genetic basis underlying the local adaptation of nonmodel species is a fundamental goal in evolutionary biology. In this study, we explored the genetic mechanisms of the local adaptation of Forsythia suspensa using genome sequence and population genomics data obtained from specific-locus amplified fragment sequencing. We assembled a high-quality reference genome of weeping forsythia (Scaffold N50 = 7.3 Mb) using ultralong Nanopore reads. Then, genome-wide comparative analysis was performed for 15 natural populations of weeping forsythia across its current distribution range. Our results revealed that candidate genes associated with local adaptation are functionally correlated with solar radiation, temperature and water variables across heterogeneous environmental scenarios. In particular, solar radiation during the period of fruit development and seed drying after ripening, cold, and drought significantly contributed to the adaptive differentiation of F. suspensa. Natural selection exerted by environmental factors contributed substantially to the population genetic structure of F. suspensa. Our results supported the hypothesis that adaptive differentiation should be highly pronounced in the genes involved in signal crosstalk between different environmental variables. Our population genomics study of F. suspensa provides insights into the fundamental genetic mechanisms of the local adaptation of plant species to climatic gradients.