Mol Ecol 2016 08;25(15):3525-6
Department of Plant Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany.
In recent years, amid growing concerns that changing climate is affecting species distributions and ecosystems, predicting responses to rapid environmental change has become a major goal. In this issue, Franks and colleagues take a first step towards this objective (Franks et al. 2016). They examine genomewide signatures of selection in populations of Brassica rapa after a severe multiyear drought. Together with other authors, Franks had previously shown that flowering time was reduced after this particular drought and that the reduction was genetically encoded. Now, the authors have sequenced previously stored samples to compare allele frequencies before and after the drought and identify the loci with the most extreme shifts in frequencies. The loci they identify largely differ between populations, suggesting that different genetic variants may be responsible for reduction in flowering time in the two populations.