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BMC Evol Biol [journal]
- Female responses to experimental removal of sexual selection components in Drosophila melanogaster. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Nov 19; 14(1):239.
BackgroundDespite the common assumption that multiple mating should in general be favored in males, but not in females, to date there is no consensus on the general impact of multiple mating on female fitness. Notably, very little is known about the genetic and physiological features underlying the female response to sexual selection pressures. By combining an experimental evolution approach with genomic techniques, we investigated the effects of single and multiple matings on female fecundity and gene expression. We experimentally manipulated the opportunity for mating in replicate populations of Drosophila melanogaster by removing components of sexual selection, with the aim of testing differences in short term post-mating effects of females evolved under different mating strategies.ResultsWe show that monogamous females suffer decreased fecundity, a decrease that was partially recovered by experimentally reversing the selection pressure back to the ancestral state. The post-mating gene expression profiles of monogamous females differ significantly from promiscuous females, involving 9% of the genes tested (approximately 6% of total genes in D. melanogaster). These transcripts are active in several tissues, mainly ovaries, neural tissues and midgut, and are involved in metabolic processes, reproduction and signaling pathways.ConclusionsOur results demonstrate how the female post-mating response can evolve under different mating systems, and provide novel insights into the genes targeted by sexual selection in females, by identifying a list of candidate genes responsible for the decrease in female fecundity in the absence of promiscuity.
- Mitogenomics of the Speartooth Shark challenges ten years of control region sequencing. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Nov 19; 14(1):232.
BackgroundMitochondrial DNA markers have long been used to identify population boundaries and are now a standard tool in conservation biology. In elasmobranchs, evolutionary rates of mitochondrial genes are low and variation between distinct populations can be hard to detect with commonly used control region sequencing or other single gene approaches. In this study we sequenced the whole mitogenome of 93 Critically Endangered Speartooth Shark Glyphis glyphis from the last three river drainages they inhabit in northern Australia.ResultsGenetic diversity was extremely low (¿ =0.00019) but sufficient to demonstrate the existence of barriers to gene flow among river drainages (AMOVA ¿ ST =0.28283, P <0.00001). Surprisingly, the comparison with single gene sub-datasets revealed that ND5 and 12S were the only ones carrying enough information to detect similar levels of genetic structure. The control region exhibited only one mutation, which was not sufficient to detect any structure among river drainages.ConclusionsThis study strongly supports the use of single river drainages as discrete management units for the conservation of G. glyphis. Furthermore when genetic diversity is low, as is often the case in elasmobranchs, our results demonstrate a clear advantage of using the whole mitogenome to inform population structure compared to single gene approaches. More specifically, this study questions the extensive use of the control region as the preferential marker for elasmobranch population genetic studies and whole mitogenome sequencing will probably uncover a large amount of cryptic population structure in future studies.
- Evolutionary origin of highly repetitive plastid genomes within the clover genus ( Trifolium ). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Nov 18; 14(1):228.
BackgroundSome clover species, particularly Trifolium subterraneum, have previously been reported to have highly unusual plastomes, relative to closely related legumes, enlarged with many duplications, gene losses and the presence of DNA unique to Trifolium, which may represent horizontal transfer. In order to pinpoint the evolutionary origin of this phenomenon within the genus Trifolium, we sequenced and assembled the plastomes of eight additional Trifolium species widely sampled from across the genus.ResultsThe Trifolium plastomes fell into two groups: those of Trifolium boissieri, T. strictum and T. glanduliferum (representing subgenus Chronosemium and subg. Trifolium section Paramesus) were tractable, assembled readily and were not unusual in the general context of Fabeae plastomes. The other Trifolium species (¿core Trifolium¿) proved refractory to assembly mainly because of numerous short duplications. These species form a single clade, which we call the ¿refractory clade¿ (comprising subg, Trifolium sections Lupinaster, Trifolium, Trichocephalum, Vesicastrum and Trifoliastrum). The characteristics of the refractory clade are the presence of numerous short duplications and 7-15% longer genomes than the tractable species. Molecular dating estimates that the origin of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of the refractory clade is approximately 13.1 million years ago (MYA). This is considerably younger than the estimated MRCA ages of Trifolium (c. 18.6 MYA) and Trifolium subg. Trifolium (16.1 MYA).ConclusionsWe conclude that the unusual repetitive plastome type previously characterized in Trifolium subterraneum had a single origin within Trifolium and is characteristic of most (but not all) species of subgenus Trifolium. It appears that an ancestral plastome within Trifolium underwent an evolutionary change resulting in plastomes that either actively promoted, were permissive to, or were unable to control, duplications within the genome. The precise mechanism of this important change in the mode and tempo of plastome evolution deserves further investigation.
- Genetic and phenotypic characterization of a hybrid zone between polyandrous Northern and Wattled Jacanas in Western Panama. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Nov 15; 14(1):227.
BackgroundHybridization provides a unique perspective into the ecological, genetic and behavioral context of speciation. Hybridization is common in birds, but has not yet been reported among bird species with a simultaneously polyandrous mating system; a mating system where a single female defends a harem of males who provide nearly all parental care. Unlike simple polyandry, polyandrous mating is extremely rare in birds, with only 1% of bird species employing this mating system. Although it is classically held that females are ¿choosy¿ in avian hybrid systems, nearly-exclusive male parental care raises the possibility that female selection against heterospecific matings might be reduced compared to birds with other mating systems.ResultsWe describe a narrow hybrid zone in southwestern Panama between two polyandrous freshwater waders: Northern Jacana, Jacana spinosa and Wattled Jacana, J. jacana. We document coincident cline centers for three phenotypic traits, mtDNA, and one of two autosomal introns. Cline widths for these six markers varied from seven to 142 km, with mtDNA being the narrowest, and five of the six markers having widths less than 100 km. Cline tails were asymmetrical, with greater introgression of J. jacana traits extending westward into the range of J. spinosa. Likewise, within the hybrid zone, the average hybrid index of phenotypic hybrids was significantly biased towards J. spinosa. Species distribution models indicate that the hybrid zone is located at the edge of a roughly 100 km wide overlap where habitat is predicted to be suitable for both species, with more westerly areas suitable only for spinosa and eastward habitats suitable only for J. jacana.ConclusionThe two species of New World jacanas maintain a narrow, and persistent hybrid zone in western Panama. The hybrid zone may be maintained by the behavioral dominance of J. spinosa counterbalanced by unsuitable habitat for J. spinosa east of the contact zone. Although the two parental species are relatively young, mitochondrial cline width was extremely narrow. This result suggests strong selection against maternally-inherited markers, which may indicate either mitonuclear incompatibilities and/or female choice against heterospecific matings typical of avian hybrid systems, despite jacana sex role reversal.
- Genetic structure of fragmented southern populations of African Cape buffalo ( Syncerus caffer caffer ). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Nov 1; 14(1):203.
BackgroundAfrican wildlife experienced a reduction in population size and geographical distribution over the last millennium, particularly since the 19th century as a result of human demographic expansion, wildlife overexploitation, habitat degradation and cattle-borne diseases. In many areas, ungulate populations are now largely confined within a network of loosely connected protected areas. These metapopulations face gene flow restriction and run the risk of genetic diversity erosion. In this context, we assessed the ¿genetic health¿ of free ranging southern African Cape buffalo populations (S.c. caffer) and investigated the origins of their current genetic structure. The analyses were based on 264 samples from 6 southern African countries that were genotyped for 14 autosomal and 3 Y-chromosomal microsatellites.ResultsThe analyses differentiated three significant genetic clusters, hereafter referred to as Northern (N), Central (C) and Southern (S) clusters. The results suggest that splitting of the N and C clusters occurred around 6000 to 8400 years ago. Both N and C clusters displayed high genetic diversity (mean allelic richness (A r ) of 7.217, average genetic diversity over loci of 0.594, mean private alleles (P a ) of 11), low differentiation, and an absence of an inbreeding depression signal (mean F IS = 0.037). The third (S) cluster, a tiny population enclosed within a small isolated protected area, likely originated from a more recent isolation and experienced genetic drift (F IS = 0.062, mean A r = 6.160, P a = 2). This study also highlighted the impact of translocations between clusters on the genetic structure of several African buffalo populations. Lower differentiation estimates were observed between C and N sampling localities that experienced translocation over the last century.ConclusionsWe showed that the current genetic structure of southern African Cape buffalo populations results from both ancient and recent processes. The splitting time of N and C clusters suggests that the current pattern results from human-induced factors and/or from the aridification process that occurred during the Holocene period. The more recent S cluster genetic drift probably results of processes that occurred over the last centuries (habitat fragmentation, diseases). Management practices of African buffalo populations should consider the micro-evolutionary changes highlighted in the present study.
- Phylogeography of the land snail genus Orcula (Orculidae, Stylommatophora) with emphasis on the Eastern Alpine taxa: speciation, hybridization and morphological variation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Oct 30; 14(1):223.
BackgroundThe Central and Southern European mountain ranges represent important biodiversity hotspots and show high levels of endemism. In the land snail genus Orcula Held, 1837 nine species are distributed in the Alps and a few taxa inhabit the Carpathians, the Dinarids and the Western Black Sea region. In order to elucidate the general patterns of temporal and geographic diversification, mitochondrial and nuclear markers were analyzed in all 13 Orcula species. We particularly aimed to clarify whether the Alpine taxa represent a monophyletic group and if the local species diversity is rather the result of isolation in geographically separated Pleistocene glacial refuges or earlier Tertiary and Quaternary palaeogeographic events. In order to test if patterns of molecular genetic and morphological differentiation were congruent and/or if hybridization had occurred, shell morphometric investigations were performed on the Orcula species endemic to the Alps.ResultsThe phylogenetic trees resulting from the analyses of both the mitochondrial (COI, 12S and 16S) and the nuclear (H4/H3) data sets revealed three main groups, which correspond to the three subgenera Orcula, Illyriobanatica and Hausdorfia. The reconstruction of the historic geographic ranges suggested that the genus originated in the Dinarides during the Middle Miocene and first colonized the Alps during the Late Miocene, giving rise to the most diverse subgenus Orcula. Within the latter subgenus (including all Alpine endemics) almost all species were differentiated by both molecular genetic markers and by shell morphometrics, except O. gularis and O. pseudodolium.ConclusionsThe present study confirms the importance of the Alps as biodiversity hotspot and origin center of land snail diversity. The species diversity in the subgenus Orcula was likely promoted by Miocene to Pliocene palaeogeographic events and the insular distribution of preferred limestone areas. In some cases, speciation events could be linked to the divergence of populations in glacial refuges during the Pleistocene. Sporadic contact between geographically separated and reproductively not yet isolated populations led to intermixture of haplogroups within species and even hybridization and mitochondrial capture between species.
- Taming the wild: resolving the gene pools of non-model Arabidopsis lineages. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Oct 27; 14(1):224.
BackgroundWild relatives in the genus Arabidopsis are recognized as useful model systems to study traits and evolutionary processes in outcrossing species, which are often difficult or even impossible to investigate in the selfing and annual Arabidopsis thaliana. However, Arabidopsis as a genus is littered with sub-species and ecotypes which make realizing the potential of these non-model Arabidopsis lineages problematic. There are relatively few evolutionary studies which comprehensively characterize the gene pools across all of the Arabidopsis supra-groups and hypothesized evolutionary lineages and none include sampling at a world-wide scale. Here we explore the gene pools of these various taxa using various molecular markers and cytological analyses.ResultsBased on ITS, microsatellite, chloroplast and nuclear DNA content data we demonstrate the presence of three major evolutionary groups broadly characterized as A. lyrata group, A. halleri group and A. arenosa group. All are composed of further species and sub-species forming larger aggregates. Depending on the resolution of the marker, a few closely related taxa such as A. pedemontana, A. cebennensis and A. croatica are also clearly distinct evolutionary lineages. ITS sequences and a population-based screen based on microsatellites were highly concordant. The major gene pools identified by ITS sequences were also significantly differentiated by their homoploid nuclear DNA content estimated by flow cytometry. The chloroplast genome provided less resolution than the nuclear data, and it remains unclear whether the extensive haplotype sharing apparent between taxa results from gene flow or incomplete lineage sorting in this relatively young group of species with Pleistocene origins.ConclusionsOur study provides a comprehensive overview of the genetic variation within and among the various taxa of the genus Arabidopsis. The resolved gene pools and evolutionary lineages will set the framework for future comparative studies on genetic diversity. Extensive population-based phylogeographic studies will also be required, however, in particular for A. arenosa and their affiliated taxa and cytotypes.
- Geological events and Pliocene climate fluctuations explain the phylogeographical pattern of the cold water fish Rhynchocypris oxycephalus (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) in China. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Oct 25; 14(1):225.
Background Rhynchocypris oxycephalus is a cold water fish with a wide geographic distribution including the relatively warm temperate regions of southern China. It also occurs in second- and third-step geomorphic areas in China. Previous studies have postulated that high-altitude populations of R. oxycephalus in southern China are Quaternary glacial relics. In this study, we used the mitochondrial gene Cytb and the nuclear gene RAG2 to investigate the species phylogeographical patterns and to test two biogeographic hypotheses: (1) that divergence between lineages supports the three-step model and (2) climatic fluctuations during the Quaternary resulted in the present distribution in southern China.ResultsPhylogenetic analysis detected three major matrilines (A, B, and C); with matrilines B and C being further subdivided into two submatrilines. Based on genetic distances and morphological differences, matriline A potentially represents a cryptic subspecies. The geographic division between matrilines B and C coincided with the division of the second and third geomorphic steps in China, suggesting a historical vicariance event. Pliocene climatic fluctuations might have facilitated the southwards dispersal of R. oxycephalus in matriline C, with the subsequent warming resulting in its split into submatrilines C1 and C2, leaving submatriline C2 as a relic in southern China.ConclusionsOur study demonstrates that geological events (three steps orogenesis) and climate fluctuations during the Pliocene were important factors in shaping phylogeographical patterns in R. oxycephalus. Notably, no genetic diversity was detected in several populations, all of which possessed unique genotypes. This indicates the uniqueness of local populations and calls for a special conservation plan for the whole species at the population level.
- Dynamic evolution of the GnRH receptor gene family in vertebrates. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Oct 25; 14(1):215.
BackgroundElucidating the mechanisms underlying coevolution of ligands and receptors is an important challenge in molecular evolutionary biology. Peptide hormones and their receptors are excellent models for such efforts, given the relative ease of examining evolutionary changes in genes encoding for both molecules. Most vertebrates possess multiple genes for both the decapeptide gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and for the GnRH receptor. The evolutionary history of the receptor family, including ancestral copy number and timing of duplications and deletions, has been the subject of controversy.ResultsWe report here for the first time sequences of three distinct GnRH receptor genes in salamanders (axolotls, Ambystoma mexicanum), which are orthologous to three GnRH receptors from ranid frogs. To understand the origin of these genes within the larger evolutionary context of the gene family, we performed phylogenetic analyses and probabilistic protein homology searches of GnRH receptor genes in vertebrates and their near relatives. Our analyses revealed four points that alter previous views about the evolution of the GnRH receptor gene family. First, the ¿mammalian¿ pituitary type GnRH receptor, which is the sole GnRH receptor in humans and previously presumed to be highly derived because it lacks the cytoplasmic C-terminal domain typical of most G-protein coupled receptors, is actually an ancient gene that originated in the common ancestor of jawed vertebrates (Gnathostomata). Second, unlike previous studies, we classify vertebrate GnRH receptors into five subfamilies. Third, the order of subfamily origins is the inverse of previous proposed models. Fourth, the number of GnRH receptor genes has been dynamic in vertebrates and their ancestors, with multiple duplications and losses.ConclusionOur results provide a novel evolutionary framework for generating hypotheses concerning the functional importance of structural characteristics of vertebrate GnRH receptors. We show that five subfamilies of vertebrate GnRH receptors evolved early in the vertebrate phylogeny, followed by several independent instances of gene loss. Chief among cases of gene loss are humans, best described as degenerate with respect to GnRH receptors because we retain only a single, ancient gene.
- Range shift and introgression of the rear and leading populations in two ecologically distinct Rubus species. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2013; 13(1):209.
The margins of a species' range might be located at the margins of a species' niche, and in such cases, can be highly vulnerable to climate changes. They, however, may also undergo significant evolutionary changes due to drastic population dynamics in response to climate changes, which may increase the chances of isolation and contact among species. Such species interactions induced by climate changes could then regulate or facilitate further responses to climatic changes. We hypothesized that climate changes lead to species contacts and subsequent genetic exchanges due to differences in population dynamics at the species boundaries. We sampled two closely related Rubus species, one temperate (Rubus palmatus) and the other subtropical (R. grayanus) near their joint species boundaries in southern Japan. Coalescent analysis, based on molecular data and ecological niche modelling during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), were used to infer past population dynamics. At the contact zones on Yakushima (Yaku Island), where the two species are parapatrically distributed, we tested hybridization along altitudinal gradients.Coalescent analysis suggested that the southernmost populations of R. palmatus predated the LGM (~20,000 ya). Conversely, populations at the current northern limit of R. grayanus diverged relatively recently and likely represent young outposts of a northbound range shift. These population dynamics were partly supported by the ensemble forecasting of six different species distribution models. Both past and ongoing hybridizations were detected near and on Yakushima. Backcrosses and advanced-generation hybrids likely generated the clinal hybrid zones along altitudinal gradients on the island where the two species are currently parapatrically distributed.Climate oscillations during the Quaternary Period and the response of a species in range shifts likely led to repeated contacts with the gene pools of ecologically distinct relatives. Such species interactions, induced by climate changes, may bring new genetic material to the marginal populations where species tend to experience more extreme climatic conditions at the margins of the species distribution.