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Evaluation of environmental factors effect on the genetic diversity, genetic structure and the potential distribution of Rhododendron aureum Georgi under changing climate
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  • Wei Zhao,
  • Xiaolong Wang,
  • Lin Li,
  • Jiangnan Li,
  • Hang Ying,
  • Ying Zhao,
  • Xia Chen
Wei Zhao
Jilin University
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Xiaolong Wang
Qiqihaer Medical University
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Lin Li
Qiqihar Medical University
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Jiangnan Li
Jilin University
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Xia Chen
Jilin University
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Abstract

Understanding genetic variation and structure, adaptive genetic variation and its relationship with environmental factors is of great significance to understand how plants adapt to climate change and design effective conservation and management strategies. The objective of this study was to (I) investigate the genetic diversity and structure by AFLP markers in 36 populations of R. aureum from northeast China, (Ⅱ) reveal the relative contribution of geographical and environmental impacts on the distribution and genetic differentiation of R. aureum; (Ⅲ) identify outlier loci under selection and evaluate the association between outlier loci and environmental factors and (Ⅳ) exactly calculate development trend of population of R. aureum,as it is confronted with severe climate change and to provide information for designing effective conservation and management strategies. We found high genetic variation (I = 0.584) and differentiation among populations (ΦST = 0.711) and moderate levels of genetic diversity within populations of R. aureum. A significant relationship between genetic distance and environmental distance was identified, which suggested that the differentiation of different populations was the caused by environmental factors. Using BayeScan and Dfdist, 42 outlier loci identified and most of the outlier loci are associated with climate or relief factors, suggesting that these loci are linked to genes that are involved in the adaptability of R. aureum to environment. Species distribution models (SDM) showed that climate warming will cause a significant reduction of suitable area for R. aureum especially under the RCP 85 scenario. Our results help to understand the potential response of R. auruem to climatic changes, and provide new perspectives for R. auruem resource management and conservation strategies.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

03 Oct 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
06 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
06 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
21 Jan 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
16 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
18 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
18 Apr 20211st Revision Received
20 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
20 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
20 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
27 May 2021Editorial Decision: Accept