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Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a polyploid, perennial grass species that is native to North America, and is being developed as a future biofuels feedstock crop. Switchgrass is present primarily in two ecotypes: a northern upland ecotype composed of tetraploid and octoploid accessions, and a southern lowland ecotype composed of primarily tetraploid accessions. We employed high-coverage exome capture sequencing (~2.4 Tb) to genotype 537 individuals from 45 upland and 21 lowland populations. From these data, we identified ~27 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), of which 1,590,653 high confidence SNPs were used in downstream analyses of diversity within and between the populations. From the 66 populations, we identified five primary population groups within the upland and lowland ecotypes, a result that was further supported through genetic distance analysis. We identified conserved, ecotype restricted non-synonymous SNPs that are predicted to impact protein function in genes that encode CONSTANS (CO) and EARLY HEADING DATE 1 (EHD1), key genes involved in flowering which may contribute to the phenotypic differences between the two ecotypes. We also identified, relative to the near-reference Kanlow population, 17,228 up-copy number variants (CNVs), 112,630 down-CNVs, and 14,430 presence/absence variants (PAV) impacting a total of 9,979 genes, including two upland-specific CNV-clusters. In total, 45,719 genes were impacted by a SNP, CNV, or a PAV across the panel providing a firm foundation to identify functional variation associated with phenotypic traits of interest for biofuel feedstock production.
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1. Assessing the impacts of multiple, often synergistic, stressors on the population dynamics of long-lived species is becoming increasingly important due to recent and future global change. 2. Tiliqua rugosa (sleepy lizard) is a long-lived skink (>30 years) that is adapted to survive in semi-arid environments with varying levels of parasite exposure and highly seasonal food availability. We used an exhaustive database of 30-years of capture-mark-recapture records to quantify the impacts of both parasite exposure and environmental conditions on the lizard's survival rates and long-term population dynamics. 3. Lizard abundance was relatively stable throughout the study period; however there were changing patterns in adult and juvenile apparent survival rates, driven by spatial and temporal variation in levels of tick exposure and temporal variation in environmental conditions. Extreme weather events during the winter and spring seasons were identified as important environmental drivers of survival. 4. Climate models predict a dramatic increase in the frequency of extreme hot and dry winter and spring seasons in our South Australian study region; from a contemporary probability of 0.17 up to 0.47 - 0.83 in 2080 depending on the emissions scenario. Our stochastic population model projections showed that these future climatic conditions will induce a decline in the abundance of this long-lived reptile of up to 67% within 30 years from 2080, under worst case scenario modelling. 5. The results have broad implications for future work investigating the drivers of population dynamics and persistence. We highlight the importance of long-term datasets and accounting for synergistic impacts between multiple stressors. We show that predicted increases in the frequency of extreme climate events have the potential to considerably and negatively influence a long-lived species, which might previously have been assumed to be resilient to environmental perturbations.
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Landscape genomics promises to provide novel insights into how neutral and adaptive processes shape genome-wide variation within and among populations. However, there has been little emphasis on examining whether individual-based phenotype-genotype relationships derived from approaches such as genome-wide association (GWAS) manifest themselves as a population-level signature of selection in a landscape context. The two may prove irreconcilable as individual-level patterns may become diluted by high levels of gene flow and complex phenotypic or environmental heterogeneity. We illustrate this issue with a case study that examines the role of the highly prevalent gastrointestinal nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis in shaping genomic signatures of selection in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica). Individual-level GWAS involving 384 SNPs has previously identified five SNPs that explain variation in T. tenuis burden. Here, we examine whether these same SNPs display population-level relationships between T. tenuis burden and genetic structure across a small-scale landscape of 21 sites with heterogeneous parasite pressure. Moreover, we identify adaptive SNPs showing signatures of directional selection using FST outlier analysis and relate population- and individual-level patterns of multi-locus neutral and adaptive genetic structure to T. tenuis burden. The five candidate SNPs for parasite-driven selection were neither associated with T. tenuis burden on a population level, nor under directional selection. Similarly, there was no evidence of parasite-driven selection in SNPs identified as FST outliers. We discuss these results in the context of red grouse ecology and highlight the broader consequences for the utility of landscape genomics approaches for identifying signatures of selection.
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Although a large part of the global domestic dog population is free-ranging and free-breeding, knowledge of genetic diversity in these free-breeding dogs (FBDs) and their ancestry relations to pure-breed dogs is limited, and the indigenous status of FBDs in Asia is still uncertain. We analyse genome-wide SNP variability of FBDs across Eurasia, and show that they display weak genetic structure and are genetically distinct from pure-breed dogs rather than constituting an admixture of breeds. Our results suggest that modern European breeds originated locally from European FBDs. East Asian and Arctic breeds show closest affinity to East Asian FBDs, and they both represent the earliest branching lineages in the phylogeny of extant Eurasian dogs. Our biogeographic reconstruction of ancestral distributions indicates a gradual westward expansion of East Asian indigenous dogs to the Middle East and Europe through Central and West Asia, providing evidence for a major expansion that shaped the patterns of genetic differentiation in modern dogs. This expansion was probably secondary and could have led to the replacement of earlier resident populations in Western Eurasia. This could explain why earlier studies based on modern DNA suggest East Asia as the region of dog origin, while ancient DNA and archaeological data point to Western Eurasia.
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We studied Drosophila melanogaster populations from Europe (the Netherlands and France) and Africa (Rwanda and Zambia) to uncover genetic evidence of adaptation to cold. We present here four lines of evidence for genes involved in cold adaptation from four perspectives: (1) the frequency of SNPs at genes previously known to be associated with chill-coma recovery time (CCRT), startle reflex (SR), and resistance to starvation stress (RSS) vary along environmental gradients and therefore among populations; (2) SNPs of genes that correlate significantly with latitude and altitude in African and European populations overlap with SNPs that correlate with a latitudinal cline from North America; (3) at the genome-wide level, the top candidate genes are enriched in gene ontology (GO) terms that are related to cold tolerance; (4) GO enriched terms from North American clinal genes overlap significantly with those from Africa and Europe. Each SNP was tested in 10 independent runs of Bayenv2, using the median Bayes factors to ascertain candidate genes. None of the candidate genes were found close to the breakpoints of cosmopolitan inversions, and only four candidate genes were linked to QTLs related to CCRT. To overcome the limitation that we used only four populations to test correlations with environmental gradients, we performed simulations to estimate the power of our approach for detecting selection. Based on our results we propose a novel network of genes that is involved in cold adaptation.
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Sex-biased dispersal is expected to homogenize nuclear genetic variation relative to variation in genetic material inherited through the philopatric sex. When site fidelity occurs across a heterogeneous environment, local selective regimes may alter this pattern. We assessed spatial patterns of variation in nuclear-encoded, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and sequences of the mitochondrial control region in bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo), a species thought to exhibit female philopatry, collected from summer habitats used for gestation. Geographic patterns of mtDNA haplotypes and putatively neutral SNPs confirmed female philopatry and male-mediated gene flow along the northeastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A total of 30 outlier SNP loci were identified; alleles at over half of these loci exhibited signatures of latitude-associated selection. Our results indicate that in species with sex-biased dispersal, philopatry can facilitate sorting of locally adaptive variation, with the dispersing sex facilitating movement of potentially adaptive variation among locations and environments.
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Differential adaptation to distinct niches can restrict gene flow and promote population differentiation within a species. However, in some cases the distinction between niches can collapse, forming a hybrid niche with features of both environments. We previously reported that distinctions between vineyards and oak soil present an ecological barrier that restricts gene flow between lineages of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Vineyard isolates are tolerant to stresses associated with grapes while North American oak strains are particularly tolerant to freeze-thaw cycles. Here, we report the isolation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains from Wisconsin cherry trees, which display features common to vineyards (e.g. high sugar concentrations) and frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Genome sequencing revealed that the isolated strains are highly heterozygous and represent recent hybrids of the oak x vineyard lineages. We found that the hybrid strains are phenotypically similar to vineyard strains for some traits, but are more similar to oak strains for other traits. The cherry strains were exceptionally good at growing in cherry juice, raising the possibility that they have adapted to this niche. We performed transcriptome profiling in cherry, oak, and vineyard strains and show that the cherry-tree hybrids display vineyard-like or oak-like expression, depending on the gene sets, and in some cases the expression patterns linked back to shared stress tolerances. Allele-specific expression in these natural hybrids suggested concerted cis-regulatory evolution at sets of functionally regulated genes. Our results raise the possibility that hybridization of the two lineages provides a genetic solution to the thriving in this unique niche.
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Dogs were the first domesticated species, originating at least 15,000 y ago from Eurasian gray wolves. Dogs today consist primarily of two specialized groups—a diverse set of nearly 400 pure breeds and a far more populous group of free-ranging animals adapted to a human commensal lifestyle (village dogs). Village dogs are more genetically diverse and geographically widespread than purebred dogs making them vital for unraveling dog population history. Using a semicustom 185,805-marker genotyping array, we conducted a large-scale survey of autosomal, mitochondrial, and Y chromosome diversity in 4,676 purebred dogs from 161 breeds and 549 village dogs from 38 countries. Geographic structure shows both isolation and gene flow have shaped genetic diversity in village dog populations. Some populations (notably those in the Neotropics and the South Pacific) are almost completely derived from European stock, whereas others are clearly admixed between indigenous and European dogs. Importantly, many populations—including those of Vietnam, India, and Egypt—show minimal evidence of European admixture. These populations exhibit a clear gradient of short-range linkage disequilibrium consistent with a Central Asian domestication origin.
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Ecological and environmental heterogeneity can produce genetic differentiation in highly mobile species. Accordingly, local adaptation may be expected across comparatively short distances in the presence of marked environmental gradients. Within the European continent, wolves (Canis lupus) exhibit distinct north–south population differentiation. We investigated more than 67-K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci for signatures of local adaptation in 59 unrelated wolves from four previously identified population clusters (northcentral Europe n = 32, Carpathian Mountains n = 7, Dinaric-Balkan n = 9, Ukrainian Steppe n = 11). Our analyses combined identification of outlier loci with findings from genome-wide association study of individual genomic profiles and 12 environmental variables. We identified 353 candidate SNP loci. We examined the SNP position and neighboring megabase (1 Mb, one million bases) regions in the dog (C. lupus familiaris) genome for genes potentially under selection, including homologue genes in other vertebrates. These regions included functional genes for, for example, temperature regulation that may indicate local adaptation and genes controlling for functions universally important for wolves, including olfaction, hearing, vision, and cognitive functions. We also observed strong outliers not associated with any of the investigated variables, which could suggest selective pressures associated with other unmeasured environmental variables and/or demographic factors. These patterns are further supported by the examination of spatial distributions of the SNPs associated with universally important traits, which typically show marked differences in allele frequencies among population clusters. Accordingly, parallel selection for features important to all wolves may eclipse local environmental selection and implies long-term separation among population clusters.
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Identifying the genetic architecture underlying complex phenotypes is a notoriously difficult problem that often impedes progress in understanding adaptive eco-evolutionary processes in natural populations. Host–parasite interactions are fundamentally important drivers of evolutionary processes, but a lack of understanding of the genes involved in the host's response to chronic parasite insult makes it particularly difficult to understand the mechanisms of host life history trade-offs and the adaptive dynamics involved. Here, we examine the genetic basis of gastrointestinal nematode (Trichostrongylus tenuis) burden in 695 red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) individuals genotyped at 384 genome-wide SNPs. We first use genome-wide association to identify individual SNPs associated with nematode burden. We then partition genome-wide heritability to identify chromosomes with greater heritability than expected from gene content, due to harbouring a multitude of additive SNPs with individually undetectable effects. We identified five SNPs on five chromosomes that accounted for differences of up to 556 worms per bird, but together explained at best 4.9% of the phenotypic variance. These SNPs were closely linked to genes representing a range of physiological processes including the immune system, protein degradation and energy metabolism. Genome partitioning indicated genome-wide heritability of up to 29% and three chromosomes with excess heritability of up to 4.3% (total 8.9%). These results implicate SNPs and novel genomic regions underlying nematode burden in this system and suggest that this phenotype is somewhere between being based on few large-effect genes (oligogenic) and based on a large number of genes with small individual but large combined effects (polygenic).
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