Landscape genetics in adaptation studies

This month’s issue of Evolution is about evolutionary landscape genetics. Nothing about trees specifically, but interesting methods in general. Check it out!

This fancy name, “Landscape genetics” does not refer to a whole special theory on its own, but is just a way of relating genetic structure of a population to the features of its environment.

Landscape genetics methods can help you dealing with population structure in your hunt for adaptive loci, especially if you have no prior reasons to pre-split your sample into “populations” (that is, when the range you are considering is continuous, not enormous in relation to dispersal distances, and your sample is not made of clusters far from each-other). This is what Jones et al. show with simulations, and illustrate with a study on the alpine plant Campanula barbata.

Genetic structure may of course be shaped by features of the landscape and migration patterns, but the environment and history of population vary through time! He et al. use coalescence-based inference on demographic models to disentangle the role of present-time landscape feature and history of populations in shaping genetic structure if Australian lizzards.

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