Background and Aims: Knowledge on how climate-induced range shifts might affect natural selection is crucial to understand the evolution of species range. Methods: Using historical demographic perspectives gathered from regional-scale phylogeography on the alpine herb Biscutella laevigata, indirect interferences on gene flow and signature of selection based on AFLP genotyping were compared between local populations persisting at the trailing edge and expanding at the leading edge. Key results: Spatial autocorrelation revealed that gene flow was two times more restricted at the trailing edge and genome scans indicated divergent selection in this persisting population. In contrast, no pattern of selection emerged in the expanding population at the leading edge. Conclusions: Historical effects may determine different architecture of genetic variation and selective patterns within local populations, what is arguably important to understand evolutionary processes acting across the species ranges.