A genome-wide investigation of the effect of farming and human-mediated introduction on the ubiquitous seaweed Undaria pinnatifida

Nat Ecol Evol. 2021 Mar;5(3):360-368. doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-01378-9. Epub 2021 Jan 25.


Human activity is an important driver of ecological and evolutionary change on our planet. In particular, domestication and biological introductions have important and long-lasting effects on species' genomic architecture and diversity. However, genome-wide analysis of independent domestication and introduction events within a single species has not previously been performed. The Pacific kelp Undaria pinnatifida provides such an opportunity because it has been cultivated in its native range in Northeast Asia but also introduced to four other continents in the past 50 years. Here we present the results of a genome-wide analysis of natural, cultivated and introduced populations of U. pinnatifida to elucidate human-driven evolutionary change. We demonstrate that these three categories of origin can be distinguished at the genome level, reflecting the combined influence of neutral (demography and migration) and non-neutral (selection) processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Humans
  • Kelp* / genetics
  • Seaweed*
  • Undaria*