Determining the adaptive potential of alien invasive species in a new environment is a key concern for risk assessment. As climate change is affecting local climatic conditions, widespread modifications in species distribution are expected.


Therefore, the genetic mechanisms underlying local adaptations must be understood in order to predict future species distribution. The soybean cyst nematode (SCN), Heterodera glycinesIchinohe, is a major pathogen of soybean that was accidentally introduced in most soybean-producing countries. In this study, we explored patterns of genetic exchange between North American populations of SCN and the effect of isolation by geographical distance. Genotyping-by-sequencing was used to sequence and compare 64 SCN populations from the United States and Canada. At large scale, only a weak correlation was found between genetic distance (Wright's fixation index, FST) and geographic distance, but local effects were strong in recently infested states. Our results also showed a high level of genetic differentiation within some populations, allowing them to adapt to new environments and become established in new soybean-producing areas. Bayesian genome scan methods identified 15 loci under selection for climatic or geographic co-variables. Among these loci, two non-synonymous mutations were detected in SMAD-4 (mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 4) and DOP-3 (dopamine receptor 3). High-impact variants linked to these loci by genetic hitchhiking were also highlighted as putatively involved in local adaptation of SCN populations to new environments. Overall, it appears that strong selective pressure by resistant cultivars is causing a large scale homogenization with virulent populations.






Figure 1: Genetic relationship among North American populations of the soybean cyst nematode. (A) Three-dimensional principal component analyses (PCAs). (B) Phylogenetic tree plot based on Provesti's absolute genetic distance. Significant bootstrap values (> 50%) are indicated. Soybean cyst nematode populations from Ontario (Canada), North Dakota and Minnesota, and central US states are indicated in red, green and black, respectively.