Publication Title: 
McKown et al. (2018)
Ecological genomics of variation in bud-break phenology and mechanisms of response to climate warming in Populus trichocarpa.
McKown Athena D, Klápště Jaroslav, Guy Robert D, El-Kassaby Yousry A, Mansfield Shawn D
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Series Name: 
The New phytologist
Spring bud-break phenology is a critical adaptive feature common to temperate perennial woody plants. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of variation in bud-break is important for elucidating adaptive evolution and predicting outcomes relating to climate change. Field and controlled growth chamber tests were used to assess population-wide patterns in bud-break from wild-sourced black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) genotypes. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) derived from whole genome sequencing to test for loci underlying variation in bud-break. Bud-break had a quadratic relationship with latitude, where southern- and northern-most provenances generally broke bud earlier than those from central parts of the species' range. Reduced winter chilling increased population-wide variation in bud-break, whereas greater chilling decreased variation. GWAS uncovered 16 loci associated with bud-break. Phenotypic changes connected with allelic variation were replicated in an independent set of P. trichocarpa trees. Despite phenotypic similarities, genetic profiles between southern- and northern-most genotypes were dissimilar based on our GWAS-identified SNPs. We propose that the GWAS-identified loci underpin the geographical pattern in P. trichocarpa and that variation in bud-break reflects different selection for winter chilling and heat sum accumulation, both of which can be affected by climate warming.
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