A recent local sweep at the PHYA locus in the Northern European Spiterstulen population of Arabidopsis lyrata



Northern and central European Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. petraea populations are locally adapted to prevailing climatic conditions through differences in timing of life history events. The timing of flowering and, in perennials, the timing of growth cessation influence fitness. Phytochrome A may have an important role in regulating these life history traits as it perceives changes in daylength. We asked whether PHYA has contributed to local adaptation to the northern conditions in A. l. petraea. To search for signals of directional selection at the PHYA locus, we resequenced PHYA and 9 short fragments around PHYA from a 57-kb region from a German (Plech) and a Norwegian (Spiterstulen) population and compared patterns of differentiation and diversity to a set of 19 reference loci around the genome. First, we found that the populations were highly differentiated: there were three nonsynonymous fixed differences at the PHYA locus, which was in stark contrast with the total four fixed differences in the 19 reference loci. Compatible with a sweep hypothesis, variation was almost completely removed from the 9.4-kb region around PHYA in the northern Spiterstulen population. The overall level of linkage disequilibrium (LD) was higher in Spiterstulen, but there was no LD across the PHYA locus in the population, which is also a known consequence of a selective sweep. The sweep has likely occurred after the last glacial maximum, which suggests that it has contributed to adaptation to the northern conditions.