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Complementary genomic and epigenomic adaptation to environmental heterogeneity
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  • Yangchun Gao,
  • Yiyong Chen,
  • Shiguo Li,
  • Xuena Huang,
  • Juntao Hu,
  • Dan Bock,
  • Hugh Macisaac,
  • Aibin Zhan
Yangchun Gao
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Yiyong Chen
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Shiguo Li
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Xuena Huang
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Juntao Hu
Fudan University
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Dan Bock
Washington University in St Louis
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Hugh Macisaac
University of Windsor
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Aibin Zhan
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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While adaptation is commonly thought to result from selection on DNA sequence-based variation, recent studies have highlighted an analogous epigenetic component as well. However, the extent to which these adaptive mechanisms to adaptation to environmental heterogeneity are redundant or complementary remains unclear. To address the underlying genetic and epigenetic mechanisms and their relationship underlying environmental adaptation, we screened the genomes and epigenomes of nine global populations of a predominately sessile marine invasive tunicate, Botryllus schlosseri. We detected clear population genetic and epigenetic differentiation, which were both significantly influenced by local environments, and the minimum annual sea surface temperature (T_min) was simultaneously identified as the top explanatory variable for both types of variation. However, there remain some degree of difference in population structure patterns between two levels, suggesting a certain level of autonomy in epigenetic variation. From the functional perspective, a set of functional genes and biological pathways were shared between two levels, indicating a conjoint contribution of genetic and epigenetic variation to environmental adaptation. Moreover, we also detected genetic- or epigenetic-specific genes/pathways in relation to a wide variety of core processes potentially underlying adaptation to local environmental factors, suggesting the partly independent relationship between two mechanisms. We infer that complementary genetic and epigenetic routes to adaptation are available in this system. Collectively, these mechanisms may facilitate population persistence under environmental changes and sustain successful invasions in novel but contrasting environments.
31 Aug 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology
02 Sep 2021Submission Checks Completed
02 Sep 2021Assigned to Editor
06 Oct 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
11 Mar 20221st Revision Received
11 Mar 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
18 Mar 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
12 Apr 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
19 Apr 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Apr 20222nd Revision Received
05 May 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Jul 2022Published in Molecular Ecology volume 31 issue 13 on pages 3598-3612. 10.1111/mec.16500