EDITOR'S CHOICE IN EVOLUTION
S. Yeaman et al., “Convergent local adaptation to climate in distantly related conifers,” Science, 353:1431-33, 2016.
Related species sometimes adapt to similar environments with mutations in the same genes. But convergent evolution is usually observed in species that recently diverged or in traits that involve only a few genes and therefore may have fewer possible evolutionary paths. New research from the snowy North tells a different story.
Interior spruces (Picea glauca and P. engelmannii) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) each have hundreds of genes that contribute to one outcome: surviving the brutal winters of Canada and the northern U.S. “You would think that there would be many ways to get the same phenotype” with so many...