PerspectiveEvolution

How conifers adapt to the cold

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Science  23 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6306, pp. 1362-1363
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8284

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Summary

In convergent evolution, different species independently acquire similar traits. Knowing whether divergent species use the same or different genetic solutions to adapt to similar selection pressures can illuminate innate constraints on underlying molecular networks. Most cases of convergence that are understood at the genetic level are relatively simple, involving one or a few genes. On page 1431 of this issue, Yeaman et al. (1) report mapping of locally adaptive genes in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and interior spruce (the species complex that includes Picea engelmannii and Picea glauca) (see the photo). The authors show that many genes implicated in local adaptation are shared among the two species.