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1.  Characterizing neutral genomic diversity and selection signatures in indigenous populations of Moroccan goats (Capra hircus) using WGS data 
Frontiers in Genetics  2015;6:107.
Since the time of their domestication, goats (Capra hircus) have evolved in a large variety of locally adapted populations in response to different human and environmental pressures. In the present era, many indigenous populations are threatened with extinction due to their substitution by cosmopolitan breeds, while they might represent highly valuable genomic resources. It is thus crucial to characterize the neutral and adaptive genetic diversity of indigenous populations. A fine characterization of whole genome variation in farm animals is now possible by using new sequencing technologies. We sequenced the complete genome at 12× coverage of 44 goats geographically representative of the three phenotypically distinct indigenous populations in Morocco. The study of mitochondrial genomes showed a high diversity exclusively restricted to the haplogroup A. The 44 nuclear genomes showed a very high diversity (24 million variants) associated with low linkage disequilibrium. The overall genetic diversity was weakly structured according to geography and phenotypes. When looking for signals of positive selection in each population we identified many candidate genes, several of which gave insights into the metabolic pathways or biological processes involved in the adaptation to local conditions (e.g., panting in warm/desert conditions). This study highlights the interest of WGS data to characterize livestock genomic diversity. It illustrates the valuable genetic richness present in indigenous populations that have to be sustainably managed and may represent valuable genetic resources for the long-term preservation of the species.
PMCID: PMC4387958  PMID: 25904931
Capra hircus; WGS; genomic diversity; population genomics; selection signatures; indigenous populations; Morocco
2.  Comparative mapping in the Fagaceae and beyond with EST-SSRs 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:153.
Genetic markers and linkage mapping are basic prerequisites for comparative genetic analyses, QTL detection and map-based cloning. A large number of mapping populations have been developed for oak, but few gene-based markers are available for constructing integrated genetic linkage maps and comparing gene order and QTL location across related species.
We developed a set of 573 expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeats (EST-SSRs) and located 397 markers (EST-SSRs and genomic SSRs) on the 12 oak chromosomes (2n = 2x = 24) on the basis of Mendelian segregation patterns in 5 full-sib mapping pedigrees of two species: Quercus robur (pedunculate oak) and Quercus petraea (sessile oak). Consensus maps for the two species were constructed and aligned. They showed a high degree of macrosynteny between these two sympatric European oaks. We assessed the transferability of EST-SSRs to other Fagaceae genera and a subset of these markers was mapped in Castanea sativa, the European chestnut. Reasonably high levels of macrosynteny were observed between oak and chestnut. We also obtained diversity statistics for a subset of EST-SSRs, to support further population genetic analyses with gene-based markers. Finally, based on the orthologous relationships between the oak, Arabidopsis, grape, poplar, Medicago, and soybean genomes and the paralogous relationships between the 12 oak chromosomes, we propose an evolutionary scenario of the 12 oak chromosomes from the eudicot ancestral karyotype.
This study provides map locations for a large set of EST-SSRs in two oak species of recognized biological importance in natural ecosystems. This first step toward the construction of a gene-based linkage map will facilitate the assignment of future genome scaffolds to pseudo-chromosomes. This study also provides an indication of the potential utility of new gene-based markers for population genetics and comparative mapping within and beyond the Fagaceae.
PMCID: PMC3493355  PMID: 22931513
3.  A fast and cost-effective approach to develop and map EST-SSR markers: oak as a case study 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:570.
Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) are a source of simple sequence repeats (SSRs) that can be used to develop molecular markers for genetic studies. The availability of ESTs for Quercus robur and Quercus petraea provided a unique opportunity to develop microsatellite markers to accelerate research aimed at studying adaptation of these long-lived species to their environment. As a first step toward the construction of a SSR-based linkage map of oak for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, we describe the mining and survey of EST-SSRs as well as a fast and cost-effective approach (bin mapping) to assign these markers to an approximate map position. We also compared the level of polymorphism between genomic and EST-derived SSRs and address the transferability of EST-SSRs in Castanea sativa (chestnut).
A catalogue of 103,000 Sanger ESTs was assembled into 28,024 unigenes from which 18.6% presented one or more SSR motifs. More than 42% of these SSRs corresponded to trinucleotides. Primer pairs were designed for 748 putative unigenes. Overall 37.7% (283) were found to amplify a single polymorphic locus in a reference full-sib pedigree of Quercus robur. The usefulness of these loci for establishing a genetic map was assessed using a bin mapping approach. Bin maps were constructed for the male and female parental tree for which framework linkage maps based on AFLP markers were available. The bin set consisting of 14 highly informative offspring selected based on the number and position of crossover sites. The female and male maps comprised 44 and 37 bins, with an average bin length of 16.5 cM and 20.99 cM, respectively. A total of 256 EST-SSRs were assigned to bins and their map position was further validated by linkage mapping. EST-SSRs were found to be less polymorphic than genomic SSRs, but their transferability rate to chestnut, a phylogenetically related species to oak, was higher.
We have generated a bin map for oak comprising 256 EST-SSRs. This resource constitutes a first step toward the establishment of a gene-based map for this genus that will facilitate the dissection of QTLs affecting complex traits of ecological importance.
PMCID: PMC3091719  PMID: 20950475
4.  Potential for evolutionary responses to climate change – evidence from tree populations 
Global Change Biology  2013;19(6):1645-1661.
Evolutionary responses are required for tree populations to be able to track climate change. Results of 250 years of common garden experiments show that most forest trees have evolved local adaptation, as evidenced by the adaptive differentiation of populations in quantitative traits, reflecting environmental conditions of population origins. On the basis of the patterns of quantitative variation for 19 adaptation-related traits studied in 59 tree species (mostly temperate and boreal species from the Northern hemisphere), we found that genetic differentiation between populations and clinal variation along environmental gradients were very common (respectively, 90% and 78% of cases). Thus, responding to climate change will likely require that the quantitative traits of populations again match their environments. We examine what kind of information is needed for evaluating the potential to respond, and what information is already available. We review the genetic models related to selection responses, and what is known currently about the genetic basis of the traits. We address special problems to be found at the range margins, and highlight the need for more modeling to understand specific issues at southern and northern margins. We need new common garden experiments for less known species. For extensively studied species, new experiments are needed outside the current ranges. Improving genomic information will allow better prediction of responses. Competitive and other interactions within species and interactions between species deserve more consideration. Despite the long generation times, the strong background in quantitative genetics and growing genomic resources make forest trees useful species for climate change research. The greatest adaptive response is expected when populations are large, have high genetic variability, selection is strong, and there is ecological opportunity for establishment of better adapted genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3664019  PMID: 23505261
adaptive traits; conifers; local adaptation; natural selection; phenotypic plasticity; provenance trials; quantitative genetics

Results 1-4 (4)