Population divergence along a genetic line of least resistance in the tree species Eucalyptus globulus
Costa e Silva, J and Potts, BM and Harrison, PA, Population divergence along a genetic line of least resistance in the tree species Eucalyptus globulus, Genes, 11, (9) Article 1095. ISSN 2073-4425 (2020) [Refereed Article]
The evolutionary response to selection depends on the distribution of genetic variation in traits under selection within populations, as defined by the additive genetic variance-covariance matrix (G). The structure and evolutionary stability of G will thus influence the course of phenotypic evolution. However, there are few studies assessing the stability of G and its relationship with population divergence within foundation tree species. We compared the G-matrices of Mainland and Island population groups of the forest tree Eucalyptus globulus, and determined the extent to which population divergence aligned with within-population genetic (co)variation. Four key wood property traits exhibiting signals of divergent selection were studied-wood density, extractive content, and lignin content and composition. The comparison of G-matrices of the mainland and island populations indicated that the G-eigenstructure was relatively well preserved at an intra-specific level. Population divergence tended to occur along a major direction of genetic variation in G. The observed conservatism of GM, the moderate evolutionary timescale, and close relationship between genetic architecture and population trajectories suggest that genetic constraints may have influenced the evolution and diversification of the E. globulus populations for the traits studied. However, alternative scenarios, including selection aligning genetic architecture and population divergence, are discussed.
additive genetic variance-covariance matrix, evolvability, response to selection, genetic constraint, genetic line of least resistance, quantitative genetics, wood properties, Eucalyptus globulus