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Open AccessArticle

Population Divergence along a Genetic Line of Least Resistance in the Tree Species Eucalyptus globulus

1
Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
2
School of Natural Sciences and ARC Training Centre for Forest Value, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1095; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091095
Received: 7 August 2020 / Accepted: 11 September 2020 / Published: 18 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics)
The evolutionary response to selection depends on the distribution of genetic variation in traits under selection within populations, as defined by the additive genetic variance-covariance matrix (G). The structure and evolutionary stability of G will thus influence the course of phenotypic evolution. However, there are few studies assessing the stability of G and its relationship with population divergence within foundation tree species. We compared the G-matrices of Mainland and Island population groups of the forest tree Eucalyptus globulus, and determined the extent to which population divergence aligned with within-population genetic (co)variation. Four key wood property traits exhibiting signals of divergent selection were studied—wood density, extractive content, and lignin content and composition. The comparison of G-matrices of the mainland and island populations indicated that the G-eigenstructure was relatively well preserved at an intra-specific level. Population divergence tended to occur along a major direction of genetic variation in G. The observed conservatism of G, the moderate evolutionary timescale, and close relationship between genetic architecture and population trajectories suggest that genetic constraints may have influenced the evolution and diversification of the E. globulus populations for the traits studied. However, alternative scenarios, including selection aligning genetic architecture and population divergence, are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: additive genetic variance-covariance matrix; evolvability; response to selection; genetic constraint; genetic line of least resistance; quantitative genetics; wood properties; Eucalyptus globulus additive genetic variance-covariance matrix; evolvability; response to selection; genetic constraint; genetic line of least resistance; quantitative genetics; wood properties; Eucalyptus globulus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Costa e Silva, J.; Potts, B.M.; Harrison, P.A. Population Divergence along a Genetic Line of Least Resistance in the Tree Species Eucalyptus globulus. Genes 2020, 11, 1095.

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