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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Genomic vulnerability to climate change in Quercus acutissima, a dominant tree species in East Asian deciduous forests

Yuan, Shuai; Shi, Yong; Zhou, Biao-Feng; Liang, Yi-Ye; Chen, Xue-Yan; An, Qing-Qing; Fan, Yan-Ru; Shen, Zhao; Ingvarsson, Par K.; Wang, Baosheng


Understanding the evolutionary processes that shape the landscape of genetic variation and influence the response of species to future climate change is critical for biodiversity conservation. Here, we sampled 27 populations across the distribution range of a dominant forest tree, Quercus acutissima, in East Asia, and applied genome-wide analyses to track the evolutionary history and predict the fate of populations under future climate. We found two genetic groups (East and West) in Q. acutissima that diverged during Pliocene. We also found a heterogeneous landscape of genomic variation in this species, which may have been shaped by population demography and linked selections. Using genotype-environment association analyses, we identified climate-associated SNPs in a diverse set of genes and functional categories, indicating a model of polygenic adaptation in Q. acutissima. We further estimated three genetic offset metrics to quantify genomic vulnerability of this species to climate change due to the complex interplay between local adaptation and migration. We found that marginal populations are under higher risk of local extinction because of future climate change, and may not be able to track suitable habitats to maintain the gene-environment relationships observed under the current climate. We also detected higher reverse genetic offsets in northern China, indicating that genetic variation currently present in the whole range of Q. acutissima may not adapt to future climate conditions in this area. Overall, this study illustrates how evolutionary processes have shaped the landscape of genomic variation, and provides a comprehensive genome-wide view of climate maladaptation in Q. acutissima.


demographic history; genetic offset; genomic variation; oak; polygenic adaptation

Published in

Molecular Ecology
2023, Volume: 32, number: 7, pages: 1639-1655
Publisher: WILEY

    SLU Authors

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Evolutionary Biology
    Climate Research
    Forest Science

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