Data from: The roles of genetic drift and natural selection in quantitative trait divergence along an altitudinal gradient in Arabidopsis thaliana
Luo, Yonghai; Widmer, Alex; Karrenberg, Sophie (2014), Data from: The roles of genetic drift and natural selection in quantitative trait divergence along an altitudinal gradient in Arabidopsis thaliana, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.r867b
Understanding how natural selection and genetic drift shape biological variation is a central topic in biology, yet our understanding of the agents of natural selection and their target traits is limited. We investigated to what extent selection along an altitudinal gradient or genetic drift contributed to variation in ecologically relevant traits in Arabidopsis thaliana. We collected seeds from 8 to 14 individuals from each of 14 A. thaliana populations originating from sites between 800 and 2700 m above sea level in the Swiss Alps. Seed families were grown with and without vernalization, corresponding to winter-annual and summer-annual life histories, respectively. We analyzed putatively neutral genetic divergence between these populations using 24 simple sequence repeat markers. We measured seven traits related to growth, phenology and leaf morphology that are rarely reported in A. thaliana and performed analyses of altitudinal clines, as well as overall QST-FST comparisons and correlation analyses among pair-wise QST, FST and altitude of origin differences. Multivariate analyses suggested adaptive differentiation along altitude in the entire suite of traits, particularly when expressed in the summer-annual life history. Of the individual traits, a decrease in rosette leaf number in the vegetative state and an increase in leaf succulence with increasing altitude could be attributed to adaptive divergence. Interestingly, these patterns relate well to common within- and between-species trends of smaller plant size and thicker leaves at high altitude. Our results thus offer exciting possibilities to unravel the underlying mechanisms for these conspicuous trends using the model species A. thaliana.