Science advances 8(6) , eabj4633 ( 2022)
Rapid environmental change can lead to population extinction or evolutionary rescue. The global staple crop sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) has recently been threatened by a global outbreak of an aggressive new biotype of sugarcane aphid (SCA; Melanaphis sacchari). We characterized genomic signatures of adaptation in a Haitian breeding population that had rapidly adapted to SCA infestation, conducting evolutionary population genomics analyses on 296 Haitian lines versus 767 global accessions. Genome scans and geographic analyses suggest that SCA adaptation has been conferred by a globally rare East African allele of RMES1, which spread to breeding programs in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. De novo genome sequencing revealed potential causative variants at RMES1. Markers developed from the RMES1 sweep predicted resistance in eight independent commercial and public breeding programs. These findings demonstrate the value of evolutionary genomics to develop adaptive trait technology and highlight the benefits of global germplasm exchange to facilitate evolutionary rescue.