Genomic insights into historical population dynamics, local adaptation, and climate change vulnerability of the East Asian Tertiary relict Euptelea (Eupteleaceae).
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1111/eva.12960
The warm-temperate and subtropical climate zones of East Asia are a hotspot of plant species richness and endemism, including a noticeable number of species-poor Tertiary relict tree genera. However, little is understood about when East Asian Tertiary relict plants diversified, how they responded demographically to past environmental change, and to what extent their current genomic composition (and adaptive capacity) might mitigate the effects of global warming. Here, we obtained genomic (RAD-SNP) data for 171 samples from two extant species of Euptelea in China (24 E. pleiosperma populations) and Japan (11 E. polyandra populations) to elucidate their divergence and demographic histories, genome-wide associations with current environmental variables, and genomic vulnerability to future climate change. Our results indicate that Late Miocene changes in climate and/or sea level promoted species divergence, whereas Late Pliocene uplifting in southwest China likely fostered lineage divergence within E. pleiosperma. Its subsequent range expansion into central/east (CE) China bears genomic signatures of climate-driven selection, yet extant CE populations are predicted to be most vulnerable to future climate change. For E. polyandra, geography was the only significant predictor of genomic variation. Our findings indicate a profound impact of Late Neogene geological and climate change on the evolutionary history of Euptelea, with much stronger signals of local adaptation left in China than in Japan. This study deepens our understanding of the complex evolutionary forces that influence the distribution of genetic variation of Tertiary relict trees, and provides insights into their susceptibility to global change and potential for adaptive responses. Our results lay the groundwork for future conservation and restoration programs for Euptelea.