Interactions between breeding system and ploidy affect niche breadth in Solanum
Understanding the factors driving ecological and evolutionary interactions of economically important plant species is important for agricultural sustainability. The geography of crop wild relatives, including wild potatoes (Solanum section Petota), have received attention; however, such information has not been analysed in combination with phylogenetic histories, genomic composition and reproductive systems to identify potential species for use in breeding for abiotic stress tolerance. We used a combination of ordinary least-squares (OLS) and phylogenetic generalized least-squares (PGLM) analyses to identify the discrete climate classes that make up the climate niche that wild potato species inhabit in the context of breeding system and ploidy. Self-incompatible diploid or self-compatible polyploid species significantly increase the number of discrete climate classes within a climate niche inhabited.
This result was sustained when correcting for phylogenetic non-independence in the linear model. Our results support the idea that specific breeding system and ploidy combinations increase niche breadth through the decoupling of geographical range and niche diversity, and therefore, these species may be of particular interest for crop adaptation to a changing climate.
Fumia, Nathan; Rubinoff, Daniel; Zenil-Ferguson, Rosana; Khoury, Colin K.; Pironon, Samuel; Gore, Michael A.; Cornell University; Kantar, Michael B.