Environmental conditions play an important role in the emergence of genetic variations in natural populations. We identified genome-wide patterns of nucleotide variations in the coding regions of natural Arabidopsis thaliana populations. These populations originated from 700 m to 3400 m a.m.s.l. in the Western Himalaya. Using a pooled RNA-Seq approach, we identified the local and global level population-specific SNPs. The biological functions of the SNP-containing genes were primarily related to the high light intensity prevalent at high-altitude regions. The novel SNPs identified in these genes might have arisen de novo in these populations. In another approach, the F ST s of SNP-containing genes were correlated with the corresponding climatic factors. Radiation in the growing season was the only environmental factor found to be strongly correlated with the gene-level F ST s. In both the approaches, the high light intensity was identified as the primary abiotic stress associated with the variations in these populations. The differential gene expression analysis between field and controlled condition grown plants also showed high light intensity as the primary abiotic stress, particularly for the high altitude populations. Our results provide a genome-wide perspective of nucleotide variations in populations along altitudinal gradient and their putative role in emergence of these variations.
|State||Published - 23 May 2016|
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