Divergent selection of populations in contrasting environments leads to functional genomic divergence. However, the genomic architecture underlying heterogeneous genomic differentiation remains poorly understood. Here, we de novo assembled two high-quality wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum K. Koch) genomes and examined genomic differentiation and gene expression patterns under abiotic stress in two populations. These two populations had a shared ancestry and originated in close geographic proximity but experienced different selective pressures due to their contrasting micro-environments. We identified structural variants that may have played significant roles in affecting genes potentially associated with well-differentiated phenotypes such as flowering time and drought response between two wild barley genomes. Among them, a 29-bp insertion into the promoter region formed a cis-regulatory element in the HvWRKY45 gene, which may contribute to enhanced tolerance to drought. A single SNP mutation in the promoter region may influence HvCO5 expression and be putatively linked to local flowering time adaptation. We also revealed significant genomic differentiation between the two populations with ongoing gene flow. Our results indicate that SNPs and small SVs link to genetic differentiation at the gene level through local adaptation and are maintained through divergent selection. In contrast, large chromosome inversions may have shaped the heterogeneous pattern of genomic differentiation along the chromosomes by suppressing chromosome recombination and gene flow. Our research offers novel insights into the genomic basis underlying local adaptation and provides valuable resources for the genetic improvement of cultivated barley.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471496), Grain Research and Development Corporation (9176507), and Yangtze University Scientific and Technological Innovation Team Foundation. We thank Claire Mérot and Peter Civáň for constructive comments on an earlier version of this paper.
© 2022 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- chromosome inversion
- cis-regulatory mutation
- drought response
- evolution canyon
- flowering time
- local principal component analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science