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Hybrid enrichment of adaptive variation revealed by genotype-environment associations in montane sedges

May 13, 2022

The role of hybridization in diversification is complex and may result in many possible outcomes. Not only can hybridization produce new lineages, but those lineages may contain unique combinations of adaptive genetic variation derived from parental taxa that allow hybrid-origin lineages to occupy unique environmental space relative to one (or both) parents. We document such a case of hybridization between two sedge species, Carex nova and Carex nelsonii (Cyperaceae), that occupy partially overlapping environmental space in the southern Rocky Mountains, USA. In the region hypothesized to be the origin of the hybrid lineage, one parental taxon (C. nelsonii) is at the edge of its environmental tolerance. Hybrid-origin individuals display mixed ancestry between the parental taxa – of nearly 7,000 unlinked loci sampled, almost 30% showed evidence of excess ancestry from one parental lineage – approximately half displayed a genomic background skewed towards one parent, and half skewed towards the other. To test whether excess ancestry loci may have conferred an adaptive advantage to the hybrid-origin lineage, we conducted genotype-environment association analyses on different combinations of loci – with and without excess ancestry – and with multiple contrasts between the hybrids and parental taxa. Loci with skewed ancestry showed significant environmental associations distinguishing the hybrid lineage from one parent (C. nelsonii), whereas loci with relatively equal representation of parental ancestries showed no such environmental associations. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of candidate adaptive loci with respect to environmental gradients also had excess ancestry from a parental lineage, implying these loci have facilitated the persistence of the hybrid lineage in an environment unsuitable to at least one parent.

Publication Year 2022
Title Hybrid enrichment of adaptive variation revealed by genotype-environment associations in montane sedges
DOI 10.1111/mec.16502
Authors Richard G.J. Hodel, Robert Massatti, L Lacey Knowles
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Molecular Ecology
Index ID 70231581
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center