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ISME J. 2015 Feb;9(2):361-70. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2014.132. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

Quantifying separation and similarity in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae metapopulation.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Eukaryotic microbes are key ecosystem drivers; however, we have little theory and few data elucidating the processes influencing their observed population patterns. Here we provide an in-depth quantitative analysis of population separation and similarity in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae with the aim of providing a more detailed account of the population processes occurring in microbes. Over 10,000 individual isolates were collected from native plants, vineyards and spontaneous ferments of fruit from six major regions spanning 1000 km across New Zealand. From these, hundreds of S. cerevisiae genotypes were obtained, and using a suite of analytical methods we provide comprehensive quantitative estimates for both population structure and rates of gene flow or migration. No genetic differentiation was detected within geographic regions, even between populations inhabiting native forests and vineyards. We do, however, reveal a picture of national population structure at scales above ∼100 km with distinctive populations in the more remote Nelson and Central Otago regions primarily contributing to this. In addition, differential degrees of connectivity between regional populations are observed and correlate with the movement of fruit by the New Zealand wine industry. This suggests some anthropogenic influence on these observed population patterns.

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