Modularity of genes involved in local adaptation to climate despite physical linkage (Genome Biol.)

Studying local adaptation is a tricky as the environmental parameters that we measure might affect the organism’s fitness. When local adaptation is driven by complex and non-covarying stresses, it is predicted that loci with similar pleiotropic effect are favored. Lotterhos et al. developed a framework for characterizing genetic architecture of adaptation by using joint inference of loci associated with different environmental factors. The framework was used for studying the genetic architecture of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorte) and identified many clusters of SNPs associated with distinct environments, including aridity and freezing. The physical linkage among loci adapting to different aspects of climate was discovered, providing insight into ecological pressures favoring the evolution of genetic modules by natural selection. (Summary by Magdalena Julkowska) Genome Biol. 10.1186/s13059-018-1545-7