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36-year study reveals stability of a wild wheat population across microhabitats

Long-term genetic studies of wild populations are very scarce, but are essential for connecting ecological and population genetics models, and for understanding the dynamics of biodiversity. The study presents a wild wheat population sampled over a 36-year period at high spatial resolution. Genotypes were clustered into ecological microhabitats over scales of tens of metres, and this clustering was remarkably stable over the 36 generations of the study. Simulations show that it is difficult to explain this spatial and temporal stability using only limited dispersal, suggesting a role for fine-scale local adaptation to ecological parameters. Using a common-garden experiment, the study showed that the genotypes found in distinct microhabitats differ phenotypically, further supporting the hypothesis of local adaptation.

The results provide a rare insight into the population genetics of a natural population over a long monitoring period.

In their study, the Institute used the Vibe QM3i analyzer to get their phenotypic data.

Read the full research article below by:

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Gregor Mendel Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna BioCenter; Vienna, Austria

Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa; Haifa, Israel

The Institute for Cereal Crops Improvement, Tel-Aviv University; Tel Aviv, Israel

Migal, Galilee Technology Center; Kiryat Shmona, Israel

36-year study reveals stability of a wild wheat population across microhabitats _ bioRxiv
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