European derived Saccharomyces cerevisiae colonisation of New Zealand vineyards aided by humans.FEMS Yeast Res 2016; 16(7)FY
Humans have acted as vectors for species and expanded their ranges since at least the dawn of agriculture. While relatively well characterised for macrofauna and macroflora, the extent and dynamics of human-aided microbial dispersal is poorly described. We studied the role which humans have played in manipulating the distribution of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of the world's most important microbes, using whole genome sequencing. We include 52 strains representative of the diversity in New Zealand to the global set of genomes for this species. Phylogenomic approaches show an exclusively European origin of the New Zealand population, with a minimum of 10 founder events mostly taking place over the last 1000 years. Our results show that humans have expanded the range of S. cerevisiae and transported it to New Zealand where it was not previously present, where it has now become established in vineyards, but radiation to native forests appears limited.