About this Research Topic
Life finds a way to thrive in our world’s most challenging environments. Plants are particularly adaptable to the most extreme environments, proving stunning models of evolutionary change. Examples include myriad arctic, alpine, desert, and saline adapted species. Additionally, human-ravaged landscapes, such as polluted or degraded soil, present opportunities for plant species that may have been already primed by preadaptation to natural hazards. As a result, both natural and human-generated extreme environments often yield dramatic phenotypes in successful colonists. The production of these phenotypes can leave some of the clearest signatures of selection on the genome, facilitating insight into molecular mechanisms underlying the diverse adaptations. Probing the relatively clear signatures of selection generated by adaptations to extreme habitats thus provides an opportunity to understand adaptation and speciation in action, and promises gold-standard reference case studies for refining methods to pinpoint loci controlling subtler and often more polygenic scenarios.
In this Research Topic, we focus on evolutionary genomic studies of adaptive evolution in extremophile plants. We seek the basis by which extremophiles have formed their niches by capitalizing on genomic variation and understand the effects of the tremendous selection pressures exerted by extreme environments on populations. We wish to gain an integrated view guiding how to move from these methodologically more straightforward extremophile cases to subtler quantitative and polygenic contrasts. Given the increasingly broad accessibility of genome-scale work to any system, we seek to take what has been learned in established, tractable models in order to lay a road map towards the discovery of the genomic basis of extremophile adaptations in the most challenging and novel systems.
We seek studies on evolutionary genomics and population genomics of plants adapted to extreme environments. We welcome Original Research, Opinions, Perspectives, Hypothesis, Reviews and Mini-Reviews of studies in model and non-model organisms. Examples include:
• The genomic basis of adaptation to extreme environments
• Naturally replicated cases of extreme adaptations (either within or between species)
• The role of structural genomic variation (including large- and small-scale variants, copy number variants, and transposable elements, etc)
• Population-level (genomic and/or ecological) studies
• Genome-scale experimental studies (transcriptome, genome, experimental evolution)
• Theoretical modelling of adaptation to extreme environments is also welcome.
Please note that descriptive studies, including those using 'omics approaches, defining gene families, or descriptive collections of transcripts, proteins, or metabolites will not be considered for review unless they are expanded and provide mechanistic and/or physiological insights into the biological system or process being studied.
Keywords: Evolutionary genomics, Plant adaptation, Plant extremophiles, Extreme habitats, Genomic variation
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