Genetics of climate change adaptation

Annu Rev Genet. 2012;46:185-208. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-110711-155511. Epub 2012 Aug 29.


The rapid rate of current global climate change is having strong effects on many species and, at least in some cases, is driving evolution, particularly when changes in conditions alter patterns of selection. Climate change thus provides an opportunity for the study of the genetic basis of adaptation. Such studies include a variety of observational and experimental approaches, such as sampling across clines, artificial evolution experiments, and resurrection studies. These approaches can be combined with a number of techniques in genetics and genomics, including association and mapping analyses, genome scans, and transcription profiling. Recent research has revealed a number of candidate genes potentially involved in climate change adaptation and has also illustrated that genetic regulatory networks and epigenetic effects may be particularly relevant for evolution driven by climate change. Although genetic and genomic data are rapidly accumulating, we still have much to learn about the genetic architecture of climate change adaptation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Body Size
  • Climate Change*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / physiology
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genetic Fitness*
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptome