Adaptive microclimatic evolution of the dehydrin 6 gene in wild barley at "Evolution Canyon", Israel

Zujun Yang, Tao Zhang, Guangrong Li, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dehydrins are one of the major stress-induced gene families, and the expression of dehydrin 6 (Dhn6) is strictly related to drought in barley. In order to investigate how the evolution of the Dhn6 gene is associated with adaptation to environmental changes, we examined 48 genotypes of wild barley, Hordeum spontaneum, from "Evolution Canyon" at Mount Carmel, Israel. The Dhn6 sequences of the 48 genotypes were identified, and a recent insertion of 342 bp at 5′UTR was found in the sequences of 11 genotypes. Both nucleotide and haplotype diversity of single nucleotide polymorphism in Dhn6 coding regions were higher on the AS ("African" slope or dry slope) than on the ES ("European" slope or humid slope), and the applied Tajima D and Fu-Li test rejected neutrality of SNP diversity. Expression analysis indicated that the 342 bp insertion at 5′UTR was associated with the earlier up-regulation of Dhn6 after dehydration. The genetic divergence of amino acids sequences indicated significant positive selection of Dhn6 among the wild barley populations. The diversity of Dhn6 in microclimatic divergence slopes suggested that Dhn6 has been subjected to natural selection and adaptively associated with drought resistance of wild barley at "Evolution Canyon".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1438
Number of pages10
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31171542), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, grant NCET-06-0810 from the Chinese Ministry of Education, the Israel Discount Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology, and the Ancell-Teicher Research Foundation for Molecular Genetics and Evolution. The authors thank Mrs. Robin Barasch-Permut for editing the manuscript.


  • Dhn6
  • Drought resistance
  • Evolution Canyon
  • Hordeum spontaneum
  • Molecular adaptive evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Genetics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Plant Science


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