Soybean (Glycine max) is the most widely grown oilseed in the world and is an important source of protein for both humans and livestock. Soybean is widely adapted to both temperate and tropical regions, but a changing climate demands a better understanding of adaptation to specific environmental conditions. Here, we explore genetic variation in a collection of 3,012 georeferenced, locally adapted landraces from a broad geographical range to help elucidate the genetic basis of local adaptation. We used geographic origin, environmental data and dense genome-wide SNP data to perform an environmental association analysis and discover loci displaying steep gradients in allele frequency across geographical distance and between landrace and modern cultivars. Our combined application of methods in environmental association mapping and detection of selection targets provide a better understanding of how geography and selection may have shaped genetic variation among soybean landraces. Moreover, we identified several important candidate genes related to drought and heat stress, and revealed important genomic regions possibly involved in the geographic divergence of soybean.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the Nebraska Soybean Board for funding N. Bandillo’s graduate research assistantship. An original version of the manuscript was improved by suggestions and edits provided by Dr. Peter Morrell, University of Minnesota.