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Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Jan 8;281(1777):20132472. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2472. Print 2014 Feb 22.

Local climatic adaptation in a widespread microorganism.

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Département de Biologie, Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes, PROTEO, Pavillon Charles-Eugène-Marchand, , 1030 avenue de la Médecine - Université Laval, Québec, Quebec, Canada , G1V 0A6, Department of Biology, McGill University, , 1205 ave Docteur Penfield, Montreal, Quebec, Canada , H3A 1B1, Laboratory of Genetics, Genome Center of Wisconsin, DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Wisconsin Energy Institute, , 425-G Henry Mall, 2434 Genetics/Biotechnology Center, Madison, WI 53706-1580, USA, Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, , Caparica 2829-516, Portugal.


Exploring the ability of organisms to locally adapt is critical for determining the outcome of rapid climate changes, yet few studies have addressed this question in microorganisms. We investigated the role of a heterogeneous climate on adaptation of North American populations of the wild yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus. We found abundant among-strain variation for fitness components across a range of temperatures, but this variation was only partially explained by climatic variation in the distribution area. Most of fitness variation was explained by the divergence of genetically distinct groups, distributed along a north-south cline, suggesting that these groups have adapted to distinct climatic conditions. Within-group fitness components were correlated with climatic conditions, illustrating that even ubiquitous microorganisms locally adapt and harbour standing genetic variation for climate-related traits. Our results suggest that global climatic changes could lead to adaptation to new conditions within groups, or changes in their geographical distributions.


Saccharomyces paradoxus; climate adaptation; freeze–thaw survival; global warming; temperature-dependent fitness

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