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Mol Ecol. 2020 Feb 21. doi: 10.1111/mec.15391. [Epub ahead of print]

Parallel adaptation to climate above the 35th parallel.

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Austrian Academy of Sciences, Gregor Mendel Institute of Plant Biology, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology, Ghent, Belgium.


Independent or parallel evolution of similar traits is key to understanding the genetics and limitations of adaptation. Adaptation from the same genetic changes in different populations defines parallel evolution. Such genetic changes can derive from standing ancestral variation or de novo mutations and excludes instances of adaptive introgression. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Walden et al.(2020) investigate the scale of parallel climate adaptation from standing genetic variation between two North American Arabidopsis lyrata lineages, each formed by a distinct evolutionary history during the last glacial cycle. By identifying adaptive variants correlated with three ecologically significant climatic gradients, they show that instead of the same genetic variants or even genes, parallel evolution is only observed at the level of biological processes. The evolution of independent adaptive variants to climate in two genetically close lineages is explained by their different post-glacial demographic histories. Separate glacial refugia and strong population bottlenecks were probably sufficient to change the landscape of shared allele frequencies, hindering the possibility of parallel evolution.


Arabidopsis ; climate adaptation; parallel evolution


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