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Parallel natural selection in the cold-adapted crop-wild relative Tripsacum dactyloides and artificial selection in temperate adapted maize

By Lang Yan, Sunil Kumar Kenchanmane Raju, Xianjun Lai, Yang Zhang, Xiuru Dai, Oscar Rodriguez, Samira Mahboub, Rebecca L. Roston, James Schnable

Posted 12 Sep 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/187575 (published DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14376)

Artificial selection has produced varieties of domesticated maize which thrive in temperate climates around the world. However, the direct progenitor of maize, teosinte, is indigenous only to a relatively small range of tropical and sub-tropical latitudes and grows poorly or not at all outside of this region. Tripsacum, a sister genus to maize and teosinte, is naturally endemic to the majority of areas in the western hemisphere where maize is cultivated. A full-length reference transcriptome for Tripsacum dactyloides generated using long-read isoseq data was used to characterize independent adaptation to temperate climates in this clade. Genes related to phospholipid biosynthesis, a critical component of cold acclimation on other cold adapted plant lineages, were enriched among those genes experiencing more rapid rates of protein sequence evolution in T. dactyloides. In contrast with previous studies of parallel selection, we find that there is a significant overlap between the genes which were targets of artificial selection during the adaptation of maize to temperate climates and those which were targets of natural selection in temperate adapted T. dactyloides. This overlap between the targets of natural and artificial selection suggests genetic changes in crop-wild relatives associated with adaptation to new environments may be useful guides for identifying genetic targets for breeding efforts aimed at adapting crops to a changing climate.

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