Xilin Deng, Philippe Henry
Identifying the genetic and ecological basis of adaptation is of immense importance in evolutionary biology. In our study, we applied a panel of 58 biallelic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for the economically and culturally important salmonid Oncorhynchus keta. Samples included 4164 individuals from 43 populations ranging from Coastal Western Alaska to southern British Colombia and northern Washington. Signatures of natural selection were detected by identifying seven outlier loci using two independent approaches: one based on outlier detection and another based on environmental correlations. Evidence of divergent selection at two candidate SNP loci, Oke_RFC2-168 and Oke_MARCKS-362, indicates significant environmental correlations, particularly with the number of frost-free days (NFFD). Important associations found between environmental variables and outlier loci indicate that those environmental variables could be the major driving forces of allele frequency divergence at the candidate loci. NFFD, in particular, may play an important adaptive role in shaping genetic variation in O. keta. Correlations between divergent selection and local environmental variables will help shed light on processes of natural selection and molecular adaptation to local environmental conditions.