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BMC Evol Biol [journal]
- Bayesian inferences suggest that Amazon Yunga Natives diverged from Andeans less than 5000 ybp: implications for South American prehistory. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 30; 14(1):174.
BackgroundArchaeology reports millenary cultural contacts between Peruvian Coast-Andes and the Amazon Yunga, a rainforest transitional region between Andes and Lower Amazonia. To clarify the relationships between cultural and biological evolution of these populations, in particular between Amazon Yungas and Andeans, we used DNA-sequence data, a model-based Bayesian approach and several statistical validations to infer a set of demographic parameters.ResultsWe found that the genetic diversity of the Shimaa (an Amazon Yunga population) is a subset of that of Quechuas from Central-Andes. Using the Isolation-with-Migration population genetics model, we inferred that the Shimaa ancestors were a small subgroup that split less than 5300 years ago (after the development of complex societies) from an ancestral Andean population. After the split, the most plausible scenario compatible with our results is that the ancestors of Shimaas moved toward the Peruvian Amazon Yunga and incorporated the culture and language of some of their neighbors, but not a substantial amount of their genes. We validated our results using Approximate Bayesian Computations, posterior predictive tests and the analysis of pseudo-observed datasets.ConclusionsWe presented a case study in which model-based Bayesian approaches, combined with necessary statistical validations, shed light into the prehistoric demographic relationship between Andeans and a population from the Amazon Yunga. Our results offer a testable model for the peopling of this large transitional environmental region between the Andes and the Lower Amazonia. However, studies on larger samples and involving more populations of these regions are necessary to confirm if the predominant Andean biological origin of the Shimaas is the rule, and not the exception.
- Agroecosystems shape population genetic structure of the greenhouse whitefly in Northern and Southern Europe. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 29; 14(1):165.
To predict further invasions of pests it is important to understand what factors contribute to the genetic structure of their populations. Cosmopolitan pest species are ideal for studying how different agroecosystems affect population genetic structure within a species at different climatic extremes. We undertook the first population genetic study of the greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum), a cosmopolitan invasive herbivore, and examined the genetic structure of this species in Northern and Southern Europe. In Finland, cold temperatures limit whiteflies to greenhouses and prevent them from overwintering in nature, and in Greece, milder temperatures allow whiteflies to inhabit both fields and greenhouses year round, providing a greater potential for connectivity among populations. Using nine microsatellite markers, we genotyped 1274 T. vaporariorum females collected from 18 greenhouses in Finland and eight greenhouses as well as eight fields in Greece.Populations from Finland were less diverse than those from Greece, suggesting that Greek populations are larger and subjected to fewer bottlenecks. Moreover, there was significant population genetic structure in both countries that was explained by different factors. Habitat (field vs. greenhouse) together with longitude explained genetic structure in Greece, whereas in Finland, genetic structure was explained by host plant species. Furthermore, there was no temporal genetic structure among populations in Finland, suggesting that year-round populations are able to persist in greenhouses.Taken together our results show that greenhouse agroecosystems can limit gene flow among populations in both climate zones. Fragmented populations in greenhouses could allow for efficient pest management. However, pest persistence in both climate zones, coupled with increasing opportunities for naturalization in temperate latitudes due to climate change, highlight challenges for the management of cosmopolitan pests in Northern and Southern Europe.
- Diversity and evolution of myxozoan minicollagens and nematogalectins. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 29; 14(1):205.
BackgroundMyxozoa are a diverse group of metazoan parasites with a very simple organization, which has for decades eluded their evolutionary origin. Their most prominent and characteristic feature is the polar capsule: a complex intracellular structure of the myxozoan spore, which plays a role in host infection. Striking morphological similarities have been found between myxozoan polar capsules and nematocysts, the stinging structures of cnidarians (corals, sea anemones and jellyfish) leading to the suggestion that Myxozoa and Cnidaria share a more recent common ancestry. This hypothesis has recently been supported by phylogenomic evidence and by the identification of a nematocyst specific minicollagen gene in the myxozoan Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae. Here we searched genomes and transcriptomes of several myxozoan taxa for the presence of additional cnidarian specific genes and characterized these genes within a phylogenetic context.ResultsIllumina assemblies of transcriptome or genome data of three myxozoan species (Enteromyxum leei, Kudoa iwatai, and Sphaeromyxa zaharoni) and of the enigmatic cnidarian parasite Polypodium hydriforme (Polypodiozoa) were mined using tBlastn searches with nematocyst-specific proteins as queries. Several orthologs of nematogalectins and minicollagens were identified. Our phylogenetic analyses indicate that myxozoans possess three distinct minicollagens. We found that the cnidarian repertoire of nematogalectins is more complex than previously thought and we identified additional members of the nematogalectin family. Cnidarians were found to possess four nematogalectin / nematogalectin-related genes, while in myxozoans only three genes could be identified.ConclusionsOur results demonstrate that myxozoans possess a diverse array of genes that are taxonomically restricted to Cnidaria. Characterization of these genes provide compelling evidence that polar capsules and nematocysts are homologous structures and that myxozoans are highly degenerate cnidarians. The diversity of minicollagens was higher than previously thought, with the presence of three minicollagen genes in myxozoans. Our phylogenetic results suggest that the different myxozoan sequences are the results of ancient divergences within Cnidaria and not of recent specializations of the polar capsule. For both minicollagen and nematogalectin, our results show that myxozoans possess less gene copies than their cnidarian counter parts, suggesting that the polar capsule gene repertoire was simplified with their reduced body plan.
- Egg survival is reduced by grave-soil microbes in the carrion beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 27; 14(1):208.
Background Nicrophorus vespilloides eggs are deposited into the soil in close proximity to the decomposing vertebrate carcasses that these insects use as an obligate resource to rear their offspring. Eggs in this environment potentially face significant risks from the bacteria that proliferate in the grave-soil environment following nutrient influx from the decomposing carcass. Our aims in this paper are twofold: first, to examine the fitness effects of grave-soil bacteria to eggs, and second, to quantify egg immunocompetence as a defence against these bacteria.ResultsOur results provide strong evidence that grave-soil microbes significantly reduce the survival of Nicrophorus eggs. Females provided with microbe rich carcasses to rear broods laid fewer eggs that were less likely to hatch than females given uncontaminated carcasses. Furthermore, we show that egg hatch success is significantly reduced by bacterial exposure. Using a split-brood design, which controlled for intrinsic differences in eggs produced by different females, we found that eggs washed free of surface-associated bacteria show increased survival compared to unwashed eggs. By contrast, eggs exposed to the entomopathogen Serratia marcescens show decreased survival compared to unexposed eggs. We next tested the immune competence of eggs under challenge from bacterial infection, and found that eggs lacked endogenous production of antimicrobial peptides, despite well-developed responses in larvae. Finally, we found that despite lacking immunity, N. vespilloides eggs produce an extraembryonic serosa, indicating that the serosa has lost its immune inducing capacity in this species.ConclusionsThe dependency on ephemeral resources might strongly select for fast developing animals. Our results suggest that Nicrophorus carrion beetles, and other species developing on ephemeral resources, face a fundamental trade-off between egg immunity and development time.
- Evolution and genomic organization of muscle microRNAs in fish genomes. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 25; 14(1):196.
BackgroundMicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules with an important role upon post-transcriptional regulation. These molecules have been shown essential for several cellular processes in vertebrates, including muscle biology. Many miRNAs were described as exclusively or highly expressed in skeletal and/or cardiac muscle. However, knowledge on the genomic organization and evolution of muscle miRNAs has been unveiled in a reduced number of vertebrates and mostly only reflects their organization in mammals, whereas fish genomes remain largely uncharted. The main goal of this study was to elucidate particular features in the genomic organization and the putative evolutionary history of muscle miRNAs through a genome-wide comparative analysis of cartilaginous and bony fish genomes.ResultsAs major outcomes we show that (1) miR-208 was unexpectedly absent in cartilaginous and ray-finned fish genomes whereas it still exist in other vertebrate groups; (2) miR-499 was intergenic in medaka and stickleback conversely to other vertebrates where this miRNA is intronic; (3) the zebrafish genome is the unique harboring two extra paralogous copies of miR-499 and their host gene (Myh7b); (4) a rare deletion event of the intergenic and bicistronic cluster miR-1-1/133a-2 took place only into Tetraodontiformes genomes (pufferfish and spotted green puffer); (5) the zebrafish genome experienced a duplication event of miR-206/-133b; and (6) miR-214 was specifically duplicated in species belonging to superorder Acanthopterygii.ConclusionsDespite of the aforementioned singularities in fish genomes, large syntenic blocks containing muscle-enriched miRNAs were found to persist, denoting colligated functionality between miRNAs and neighboring genes. Based on the genomic data here obtained, we envisioned a feasible scenario for explaining muscle miRNAs evolution in vertebrates.
- Evolutionary history of a vanishing radiation: isolation-dependent persistence and diversification in Pacific Island partulid tree snails. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 24; 14(1):202.
BackgroundPartulid tree snails are endemic to Pacific high islands and have experienced extraordinary rates of extinction in recent decades. Although they collectively range across a 10,000 km swath of Oceania, half of the family¿s total species diversity is endemic to a single Eastern Pacific hot spot archipelago (the Society Islands) and all three partulid genera display highly distinctive distributions. Our goal was to investigate broad scale (range wide) and fine scale (within¿Society Islands) molecular phylogenetic relationships of the two widespread genera, Partula and Samoana. What can such data tell us regarding the genesis of such divergent generic distribution patterns, and nominal species diversity levels across Oceania?ResultsMuseum, captive (zoo) and contemporary field specimens enabled us to genotype 54 of the ~120 recognized species, including many extinct or extirpated taxa, from 14 archipelagoes. The genera Partula and Samoana are products of very distinct diversification processes. Originating at the western edge of the familial range, the derived genus Samoana is a relatively recent arrival in the far eastern archipelagoes (Society, Austral, Marquesas) where it exhibits a stepping¿stone phylogenetic pattern and has proven adept at both intra¿and inter¿ archipelago colonization. The pronounced east¿west geographic disjunction exhibited by the genus Partula stems from a much older long-distance dispersal event and its high taxonomic diversity in the Society Islands is a product of a long history of within¿archipelago diversification.ConclusionsThe central importance of isolation for partulid lineage persistence and diversification is evident in time-calibrated phylogenetic trees that show that remote archipelagoes least impacted by continental biotas bear the oldest clades and/or the most speciose radiations. In contemporary Oceania, that isolation is being progressively undermined and these tree snails are now directly exposed to introduced continental predators throughout the family¿s range. Persistence of partulids in the wild will require proactive exclusion of alien predators in at least some designated refuge islands.
- Environment-dependent microevolution in a Mediterranean pine ( Pinus pinaster Aiton). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 23; 14(1):200.
BackgroundA central question for understanding the evolutionary responses of plant species to rapidly changing environments is the assessment of their potential for short-term (in one or a few generations) genetic change. In our study, we consider the case of Pinus pinaster Aiton (maritime pine), a widespread Mediterranean tree, and (i) test, under different experimental conditions (growth chamber and semi-natural), whether higher recruitment in the wild from the most successful mothers is due to better performance of their offspring; and (ii) evaluate genetic change in quantitative traits across generations at two different life stages (mature trees and seedlings) that are known to be under strong selection pressure in forest trees.ResultsGenetic control was high for most traits (h 2 ¿=¿0.137-0.876) under the milder conditions of the growth chamber, but only for ontogenetic change (0.276), total height (0.415) and survival (0.719) under the more stressful semi-natural conditions. Significant phenotypic selection gradients were found in mature trees for traits related to seed quality (germination rate and number of empty seeds). Moreover, female relative reproductive success was significantly correlated with offspring performance for specific leaf area (SLA) in the growth chamber experiment, and stem mass fraction (SMF) in the experiment under semi-natural conditions, two adaptive traits related to abiotic stress-response in pines. Selection gradients based on genetic covariance of seedling traits and responses to selection at this stage involved traits related to biomass allocation (SMF) and growth (as decomposed by a Gompertz model) or delayed ontogenetic change, depending also on the testing environment.ConclusionsDespite the evidence of microevolutionary change in adaptive traits in maritime pine, directional or disruptive changes are difficult to predict due to variable selection at different life stages and environments. At mature-tree stages, higher female effective reproductive success can be explained by differences in their production of offspring (due to seed quality) and, to a lesser extent, by seemingly better adapted seedlings. Selection gradients and responses to selection for seedlings also differed across experimental conditions. The distinct processes involved at the two life stages (mature trees or seedlings) together with environment-specific responses advice caution when predicting likely evolutionary responses to environmental change in Mediterranean forest trees.
- Causes of endemic radiation in the Caribbean: evidence from the historical biogeography and diversification of the butterfly genus Calisto (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Satyrini). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 16; 14(1):199.
Background Calisto is the largest butterfly genus in the West Indies but its systematics, historical biogeography and the causes of its diversification have not been previously rigorously evaluated. Several studies attempting to explain the wide-ranging diversity of Calisto gave different weights to vicariance, dispersal and adaptive radiation. We utilized molecular phylogenetic approaches and secondary calibrations points to estimate lineage ages. In addition, we used the dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis model and Caribbean paleogeographical information to reconstruct ancestral geographical distributions. We also evaluated different models of diversification to estimate the dynamics of lineage radiation within Calisto. By understanding the evolution of Calisto butterflies, we attempt to identify the main processes acting on insular insect diversity and the causes of its origin and its maintenance.ResultsThe crown age of Calisto was estimated to the early Oligocene (31¿±¿5 Ma), and a single shift in diversification rate following a diversity-dependent speciation process was the best explanation for the present-day diversity found within the genus. A major increase in diversification rate was recovered at 14 Ma, following geological arrangements that favoured the availability of empty niches. Inferred ancestral distributional ranges suggested that the origin of extant Calisto is in agreement with a vicariant model and the origin of the Cuban lineage was likely the result of vicariance caused by the Cuba-Hispaniola split. A long-distance dispersal was the best explanation for the colonization of Jamaica and the Bahamas.ConclusionsThe ancestral geographical distribution of Calisto is in line with the paleogeographical model of Caribbean colonization, which favours island-to-island vicariance. Because the sister lineage of Calisto remains ambiguous, its arrival to the West Indies remains to be explained, although, given its age and historical biogeography, the hypothesized GAARlandia land bridge might have been a plausible introduction route from continental America. Intra-island radiation caused by ecological innovation and the abiotic creation of niche spaces was found to be the main force shaping Calisto diversity and island endemism in Hispaniola and Cuba.
- Genetic variation in taste receptor pseudogenes provides evidence for a dynamic role in human evolution. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 13; 14(1):198.
BackgroundHuman bitter taste receptors are encoded by a gene family consisting of 25 functional TAS2R loci. In addition, humans carry 11 TAS2R pseudogenes, some of which display evidence for substantial diversification among species, showing lineage-specific loss of function. Since bitter taste is thought to help prevent the intake of toxic substances, diversity at TAS2R genes could reflect the action of natural selection on the ability to recognize some bitter compounds rather than others. Whether species-specific variation in TAS2R pseudogenes is solely the result of genetic drift or whether it may have been influenced by selection due to different feeding behaviors has been an open question.ResultsIn this study, we analyzed patterns of variation at human TAS2R pseudogenes in both African and non-African populations, and compared them to those observable in nonhuman primates and archaic human species. Our results showed a similar worldwide distribution of allelic variation for most of the pseudogenes, with the exception of the TAS2R6P and TAS2R18P loci, both of which presented an unexpected higher frequency of derived alleles outside Africa. At the TAS2R6P locus, two SNPs were found in strong linkage disequilibrium (r2¿>¿0.9) with variants in the functional TAS2R5 gene, which showed signatures of selection. The human TAS2R18P carried a species-specific stop-codon upstream of four polymorphic insertions in the reading frame. SNPs at this locus showed significant positive values in a number of neutrality statistics, and age estimates indicated that they arose after the homo-chimp divergence.ConclusionsThe similar distribution of variation of many human bitter receptor pseudogenes among human populations suggests that they arose from the ancestral forms by a unidirectional loss of function. However we explain the higher frequency of TAS2R6P derived alleles outside Africa as the effect of the balancing selection acting on the closely linked TAS2R5 gene. In contrast, TAS2R18P displayed a more complex history, suggesting an acquired function followed by a recent pseudogenization that predated the divergence of human modern and archaic species, which we hypothesize was associated with adaptions to dietary changes.
- Motion dazzle and the effects of target patterning on capture success. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Sep 13; 14(1):201.
BackgroundStripes and other high contrast patterns found on animals have been hypothesised to cause ¿motion dazzle¿, a type of defensive coloration that operates when in motion, causing predators to misjudge the speed and direction of object movement. Several recent studies have found some support for this idea, but little is currently understood about the mechanisms underlying this effect. Using humans as model `predators¿ in a touch screen experiment we investigated further the effectiveness of striped targets in preventing capture, and considered how stripes compare to other types of patterning in order to understand what aspects of target patterning are important in making a target difficult to capture.ResultsWe find that striped targets are among the most difficult to capture, but that other patterning types are also highly effective at preventing capture in this task. Several target types, including background sampled targets and targets with a `spot¿ on were significantly easier to capture than striped targets. We also show differences in capture attempt rates between different target types, but we find no differences in learning rates between target types.ConclusionsWe conclude that striped targets are effective in preventing capture, but are not uniquely difficult to catch, with luminance matched grey targets also showing a similar capture rate. We show that key factors in making capture easier are a lack of average background luminance matching and having trackable `features¿ on the target body. We also find that striped patterns are attempted relatively quickly, despite being difficult to catch. We discuss these findings in relation to the motion dazzle hypothesis and how capture rates may be affected more generally by pattern type.