Evolutionary and ecological genomics of non-model plants


 Author for correspondence. E-mail: bhsong@duke.edu; Tel.: 1-919-668-6590; Fax: 1-919-660-7293.


Abstract  Dissecting evolutionary dynamics of ecologically important traits is a long-term challenge for biologists. Attempts to understand natural variation and molecular mechanisms have motivated a move from laboratory model systems to non-model systems in diverse natural environments. Next generation sequencing methods, along with an expansion of genomic resources and tools, have fostered new links between diverse disciplines, including molecular biology, evolution, ecology, and genomics. Great progress has been made in a few non-model wild plants, such as Arabidopsis relatives, monkey flowers, and wild sunflowers. Until recently, the lack of comprehensive genomic information has limited evolutionary and ecological studies to larger QTL (quantitative trait locus) regions rather than single gene resolution, and has hindered recognition of general patterns of natural variation and local adaptation. Further efforts in accumulating genomic data and developing bioinformatic and biostatistical tools are now poised to move this field forward. Integrative national and international collaborations and research communities are needed to facilitate development in the field of evolutionary and ecological genomics.