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Mol Biol Evol. 2008 Feb;25(2):417-37. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

"Contrasting patterns of selection at Pinus pinaster Ait. Drought stress candidate genes as revealed by genetic differentiation analyses".

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Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 1202 Biodiversity Genes & Communities, Cestas, France.


The importance of natural selection for shaping adaptive trait differentiation among natural populations of allogamous tree species has long been recognized. Determining the molecular basis of local adaptation remains largely unresolved, and the respective roles of selection and demography in shaping population structure are actively debated. Using a multilocus scan that aims to detect outliers from simulated neutral expectations, we analyzed patterns of nucleotide diversity and genetic differentiation at 11 polymorphic candidate genes for drought stress tolerance in phenotypically contrasted Pinus pinaster Ait. populations across its geographical range. We compared 3 coalescent-based methods: 2 frequentist-like, including 1 approach specifically developed for biallelic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) here and 1 Bayesian. Five genes showed outlier patterns that were robust across methods at the haplotype level for 2 of them. Two genes presented higher F(ST) values than expected (PR-AGP4 and erd3), suggesting that they could have been affected by the action of diversifying selection among populations. In contrast, 3 genes presented lower F(ST) values than expected (dhn-1, dhn2, and lp3-1), which could represent signatures of homogenizing selection among populations. A smaller proportion of outliers were detected at the SNP level suggesting the potential functional significance of particular combinations of sites in drought-response candidate genes. The Bayesian method appeared robust to low sample sizes, flexible to assumptions regarding migration rates, and powerful for detecting selection at the haplotype level, but the frequentist-like method adapted to SNPs was more efficient for the identification of outlier SNPs showing low differentiation. Population-specific effects estimated in the Bayesian method also revealed populations with lower immigration rates, which could have led to favorable situations for local adaptation. Outlier patterns are discussed in relation to the different genes' putative involvement in drought tolerance responses, from published results in transcriptomics and association mapping in P. pinaster and other related species. These genes clearly constitute relevant candidates for future association studies in P. pinaster.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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