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Data from: Hidden genetic variance contributes to increase the short-term adaptive potential of selfing populations


Clo, Josselin; Ronfort, Joëlle; Abu Awad, Diala (2020), Data from: Hidden genetic variance contributes to increase the short-term adaptive potential of selfing populations, Dryad, Dataset,


Standing genetic variation is considered a major contributor to the adaptive potential of species. The low heritable genetic variation observed in self-fertilising populations has led to the hypothesis that species with this mating system would be less likely to adapt. However, a non-negligible amount of cryptic genetic variation for polygenic traits, accumulated through negative linkage disequilibrium, could prove to be an important source of standing variation in self-fertilising species. To test this hypothesis we simulated populations under stabilizing selection subjected to an environmental change. We demonstrate that, when the mutation rate is high (but realistic), selfing populations are better able to store genetic variance than outcrossing populations through genetic associations, notably due to the reduced effective recombination rate associated with predominant selfing. Following an environmental shift, this diversity can be partially remobilized, which increases the additive variance and adaptive potential of predominantly (but not completely) selfing populations. In such conditions, despite initially lower observed genetic variance, selfing populations adapt as readily as outcrossing ones within a few generations. For low mutation rates, purifying selection impedes the storage of diversity through genetic associations, in which case, as previously predicted, the lower genetic variance of selfing populations results in lower adaptability compared to their outcrossing counterparts. The population size and the mutation rate are the main parameters to consider, as they are the best predictors of the amount of stored diversity in selfing populations. Our results and their impact on our knowledge of adaptation under high selfing rates are discussed.