Genomic diversity in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum): from the continental scale to a dune landscape

Authors

  • GEOFFREY P. MORRIS,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 1101 East 57th St., Chicago, IL 60637, USA
    2. Argonne National Laboratory, Terrestrial Ecology, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, IL 60439, USA
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  • PAUL P GRABOWSKI,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 1101 East 57th St., Chicago, IL 60637, USA
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  • JUSTIN O. BOREVITZ

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 1101 East 57th St., Chicago, IL 60637, USA
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Geoffrey P. Morris; E-mail: gmorris@uchicago.edu

Abstract

Connecting broad-scale patterns of genetic variation and population structure to genetic diversity on a landscape is a key step towards understanding historical processes of migration and adaptation. New genomic approaches can be used to increase the resolution of phylogeographic studies while reducing locus sampling effects and circumventing ascertainment bias. Here, we use a novel approach based on high-throughput sequencing to characterize genetic diversity in complete chloroplast genomes and >10 000 nuclear loci in switchgrass, at continental and landscape scales. Switchgrass is a North American tallgrass species, which is widely used in conservation and perennial biomass production, and shows strong ecotypic adaptation and population structure across the continental range. We sequenced 40.9 billion base pairs from 24 individuals from across the species’ range and 20 individuals from the Indiana Dunes. Analysis of plastome sequence revealed 203 variable SNP sites that define eight haplogroups, which are differentiated by 4–127 SNPs and confirmed by patterns of indel variation. These include three deeply divergent haplogroups, which correspond to the previously described lowland–upland ecotypic split and a novel upland haplogroup split that dates to the mid-Pleistocene. Most of the plastome haplogroup diversity present in the northern switchgrass range, including in the Indiana Dunes, originated in the mid- or upper Pleistocene prior to the most recent postglacial recolonization. Furthermore, a recently colonized landscape feature (approximately 150 ya) in the Indiana Dunes contains several deeply divergent upland haplogroups. Nuclear markers also support a deep lowland–upland split, followed by limited gene flow, and show extensive gene flow in the local population of the Indiana Dunes.

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