Genome architecture and diverged selection shaping pattern of genomic differentiation in wild barley

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Publication Date


Journal Title

Plant Biotechnology Journal




chromosome inversion, cis-regulatory mutation, drought response, evolution canyon, flowering time, local principal component analysis


Agricultural Science | Agriculture | Agronomy and Crop Sciences | Plant Breeding and Genetics


Divergent selection of populations in contrasting environments leads to functional genomic divergence. However, the genomic architecture underlying heterogeneous genomic differentiation remains poorly understood. Here, we de novo assembled two high-quality wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum K. Koch) genomes and examined genomic differentiation and gene expression patterns under abiotic stress in two populations. These two populations had a shared ancestry and originated in close geographic proximity but experienced different selective pressures due to their contrasting micro-environments. We identified structural variants that may have played significant roles in affecting genes potentially associated with well-differentiated phenotypes such as flowering time and drought response between two wild barley genomes. Among them, a 29-bp insertion into the promoter region formed a cis-regulatory element in theHvWRKY45gene, which may contribute to enhanced tolerance to drought. A single SNP mutation in the promoter region may influenceHvCO5expression and be putatively linked to local flowering time adaptation. We also revealed significant genomic differentiation between the two populations with ongoing gene flow. Our results indicate that SNPs and small SVs link to genetic differentiation at the gene level through local adaptation and are maintained through divergent selection. In contrast, large chromosome inversions may have shaped the heterogeneous pattern of genomic differentiation along the chromosomes by suppressing chromosome recombination and gene flow. Our research offers novel insights into the genomic basis underlying local adaptation and provides valuable resources for the genetic improvement of cultivated barley.