Abstract Detail

Population Genetics/Genomics

Thompson, Hana [1], Eckert, Christopher [2].

Investigating whether asexuality facilitates range expansion using transcriptome analysis with a clonal wetland plant.

All species have limits to their geographic distributions, and these limits are thought to reflect a failure of adaptation to conditions beyond the range. The reproductive system strongly affects genetic diversity within populations, thus a shift in reproductive mode may influence adaptation at range limits. Shifts from sexual reproduction to asexual clonal reproduction at range limits have been observed in a wide variety of plants, but whether this shift in reproductive system impedes or promotes range expansion is largely unknown. Decodon verticillatus (Lythraceae) is a tristylous, emergent, wetland plant native to eastern North America that reproduces sexually in the southern portion of its range but exhibits a dramatic shift to exclusive asexual reproduction at its northern limit. Previous studies suggest that this shift to asexuality has facilitated range expansion: asexuality appears to have arisen independently multiple times at the range limit and is associated with better survival in colder climates. We will be more directly testing this hypothesis through de novo transcriptome assembly and genome-wide analysis of genetic variation. If asexuality is promoting range expansion, we expect signatures of long-term asexuality (e.g. increased heterozygosity and deleterious mutations) and broad genetic differentiation of northern populations from southern populations. A better understanding of the ecological and genetic factors that impose range limits is becoming increasingly important to better anticipate the capacity of species to adapt and potentially shift their ranges in response to anthropogenic environmental changes, such as habitat alteration and climate change.

1 - Queen's University, Department of Biology, 116 Barrie St, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada
2 - Department Of Biology, Department Of Biology, Queen's University, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada

none specified

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Population Genetics/Genomics Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM Time and date to be determined
Number: PPG006
Abstract ID:476
Candidate for Awards:None

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