Adaptive signals of flowering time pathways in wild barley from Israel over 28 generations

Chaoju Qian, Xia Yan, Yong Shi, Hengxia Yin, Yuxiao Chang, Jun Chen, Pär K. Ingvarsson, Eviatar Nevo, Xiao Fei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flowering time is one of the most critical traits for plants’ life cycles, which is influenced by various environment changes, such as global warming. Previous studies have suggested that to guarantee reproductive success, plants have shifted flowering times to adapt to global warming. Although many studies focused on the molecular mechanisms of early flowering, little was supported by the repeated sampling at different time points through the changing climate. To fully dissect the temporal and spatial evolutionary genetics of flowering time, we investigated nucleotide variation in ten flowering time candidate genes and nine reference genes for the same ten wild-barley populations sampled 28 years apart (1980–2008). The overall genetic differentiation was significantly greater in the descendant populations (2008) compared with the ancestral populations (1980); however, local adaptation tests failed to detect any single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)/indel under spatial-diversifying selection at either time point. By contrast, the WFABC (Wright–Fisher ABC-based approach) that detected 54 SNPs/indels was under strong selection during the past 28 generations. Moreover, all these 54 alleles were segregated in the ancestral populations, but fixed in the descendent populations. Among the top ten SNPs/indels, seven were located in genes of FT1 (FLOWERING TIME LOCUS T 1), CO1 (CONSTANS-LIKE PROTEIN 1), and VRN-H2 (VERNALIZATION-H2), which have been documented to be associated with flowering time regulation in barley cultivars. This study might suggest that all ten populations have undergone parallel evolution over the past few decades in response to global warming, and even an overwhelming local adaptation and ecological differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-76
Number of pages15
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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