The Genomic Basis of Local Climatic Adaptation

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Science  07 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6052, pp. 49-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.1213788

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Many plant populations are locally adapted and genetically differentiated for traits related to fitness, but the genetic basis of this adaptation remains poorly known. The best genomic resources for plants are available either for model species such as Arabidopsis thaliana, or for crop plants such as maize. In contrast, studies of fitness variation in natural conditions are spread over a large number of species with poorly understood genomes. Two reports in this issue, by Fournier-Level et al. on page 86 (1) and Hancock et al. on page 83 (2), report a major advance toward finding the genomic sites related to climatic adaptation in A. thaliana by combining genome-wide analysis of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and fitness estimates. Such information may eventually be used to better predict and manage climate change responses.