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Ecological genomics of adaptation of arabidopsis thaliana in a spatially heterogeneous environment

Abstract : In the context of global changes, one of the challenges in ecological genomics is to estimate the adaptive potential of natural populations. Three steps are requested to address this challenge: identification of the selective agents and their associated spatial grains, identification of the genetic bases of adaptation and monitoring the adaptive dynamics of natural population over a short time period. Here, I aimed at studying the adaptive potential of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Based on 168 natural populations of A. thaliana characterized for 24 phenotypic traits and 60 abiotic (climate, soil) and biotic (plant communities and microbiota) factors, plant communities were found to be the main selective agents. Based on 4.8 million SNPs, I combined Genome Environment Association analysis with genome scans for signatures of selection. I confirmed the importance to consider plant-plant interactions when studying adaptation in A. thaliana. To monitor the adaptive dynamics of a natural population in the context of global warming, I combined an in situ resurrection study with an approach of GWA mapping based on 195 local accessions characterized for 29 phenotypic traits and 1.9 million SNPs. Adaptive evolutionary changes were largely driven by rare QTLs with intermediate degrees of pleiotropy under strong selection. In addition to these rare pleiotropic QTLs, weak selection was detected for frequent small micro-habitat-specific QTLs that shape single traits. Overall, I suggest that a rapid adaptive phenotypic evolution can be rapidly achieved in A. thaliana, while still maintaining genetic variation in natural populations.
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Léa Frachon. Ecological genomics of adaptation of arabidopsis thaliana in a spatially heterogeneous environment. Cell Behavior [q-bio.CB]. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017TOU30098⟩. ⟨tel-01902746⟩

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