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Convergent local adaptation to climate in distantly related conifers

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Science  23 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6306, pp. 1431-1433
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7812

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Abstract

When confronted with an adaptive challenge, such as extreme temperature, closely related species frequently evolve similar phenotypes using the same genes. Although such repeated evolution is thought to be less likely in highly polygenic traits and distantly related species, this has not been tested at the genome scale. We performed a population genomic study of convergent local adaptation among two distantly related species, lodgepole pine and interior spruce. We identified a suite of 47 genes, enriched for duplicated genes, with variants associated with spatial variation in temperature or cold hardiness in both species, providing evidence of convergent local adaptation despite 140 million years of separate evolution. These results show that adaptation to climate can be genetically constrained, with certain key genes playing nonredundant roles.

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