The Aquilegia genome: adaptive radiation and an extraordinarily polymorphic chromosome with a unique history

Filiault DL, Ballerini ES, Mandáková T, Akoz G, Derieg NJ, Schmutz J, Jenkins J, Grimwood J, Shu S, Hayes RD, Hellsten U, Barry K, Yan J, Mihaltcheva S, Karafiatova M, Nizhynska V, Kramer EM, Lysak MA, Hodges SA, Nordborg M

eLife: 7:e36426.


The columbine genus Aquilegia is a classic example of an adaptive radiation, involving a wide variety of pollinators and habitats. Here we present the genome assembly of A. coerulea 'Goldsmith', complemented by high-coverage sequencing data from 10 wild species covering the world-wide distribution. Our analyses reveal extensive allele sharing among species, and demonstrate that introgression and selection played a role in the Aquilegia radiation. We also present the remarkable discovery that the evolutionary history of an entire chromosome differs from that of the rest of the genome - a phenomenon which we do not fully understand, but which highlights the need to consider chromosomes in an evolutionary context.