Chromosomal rearrangements maintain a polymorphic supergene controlling butterfly mimicry.
ABSTRACT Supergenes are tight clusters of loci that facilitate the co-segregation of adaptive variation, providing integrated control of complex adaptive phenotypes. Polymorphic supergenes, in which specific combinations of traits are maintained within a single population, were first described for 'pin' and 'thrum' floral types in Primula and Fagopyrum, but classic examples are also found in insect mimicry and snail morphology. Understanding the evolutionary mechanisms that generate these co-adapted gene sets, as well as the mode of limiting the production of unfit recombinant forms, remains a substantial challenge. Here we show that individual wing-pattern morphs in the polymorphic mimetic butterfly Heliconius numata are associated with different genomic rearrangements at the supergene locus P. These rearrangements tighten the genetic linkage between at least two colour-pattern loci that are known to recombine in closely related species, with complete suppression of recombination being observed in experimental crosses across a 400-kilobase interval containing at least 18 genes. In natural populations, notable patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD) are observed across the entire P region. The resulting divergent haplotype clades and inversion breakpoints are found in complete association with wing-pattern morphs. Our results indicate that allelic combinations at known wing-patterning loci have become locked together in a polymorphic rearrangement at the P locus, forming a supergene that acts as a simple switch between complex adaptive phenotypes found in sympatry. These findings highlight how genomic rearrangements can have a central role in the coexistence of adaptive phenotypes involving several genes acting in concert, by locally limiting recombination and gene flow.
SourceAvailable from: Katrín Halldórsdóttir[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: High-fecundity organisms, such as Atlantic cod, can withstand substantial natural selection and the entailing genetic load of replacing alleles at a number of loci due to their excess reproductive capacity. High-fecundity organisms may reproduce by sweepstakes leading to highly skewed heavy-tailed offspring distribution. Under such reproduction the Kingman coalescent of binary mergers breaks down and models of multiple merger coalescent are more appropriate. Here we study nucleotide variation at the Ckma (Creatine Kinase Muscle type A) gene in Atlantic cod. The gene shows extreme differentiation between the North (Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Barents Sea) and the South (Faroe Islands, North-, Baltic-, Celtic-, and Irish Seas) with FST > 0.8 between regions whereas neutral loci show no differentiation. This is evidence of natural selection. The protein sequence is conserved by purifying selection whereas silent and non-coding sites show extreme differentiation. The unfolded site-frequency spectrum has three modes, a mode at singleton sites and two high frequency modes at opposite frequencies representing divergent branches of the gene genealogy that is evidence for balancing selection. Analysis with multiple-merger coalescent models can account for the high frequency of singleton sites and indicate reproductive sweepstakes. Coalescent time scales vary with population size and with the inverse of variance in offspring number. Parameter estimates using multiple-merger coalescent models show that times scales are faster than under the Kingman coalescent.02/2015; 3. DOI:10.7717/peerj.786
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ABSTRACT: Genetic dominance in polymorphic loci may respond to selection; however, the evolution of dominance in complex traits remains a puzzle. We analyse dominance at a wing-patterning supergene controlling local mimicry polymorphism in the butterfly Heliconius numata. Supergene alleles are associated with chromosomal inversion polymorphism, defining ancestral versus derived alleles. Using controlled crosses and the new procedure, Colour Pattern Modelling, allowing whole-wing pattern comparisons, we estimate dominance coefficients between alleles. Here we show strict dominance in sympatry favouring mimicry and inconsistent dominance throughout the wing between alleles from distant populations. Furthermore, dominance among derived alleles is uncoordinated across wing-pattern elements, producing mosaic heterozygous patterns determined by a hierarchy in colour expression. By contrast, heterozygotes with an ancestral allele show complete, coordinated dominance of the derived allele, independently of colours. Therefore, distinct dominance mechanisms have evolved in association with supergene inversions, in response to strong selection on mimicry polymorphism.Nature Communications 11/2014; 5:5644. DOI:10.1038/ncomms6644 · 10.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chromosome rearrangements occur in a variety of eukaryotic life cycles, including during the development of the somatic macronuclear genome in ciliates. Previous work on the phyllopharyngean ciliate Chilodonella uncinata revealed that macronuclear β-tubulin and protein kinase gene families share alternatively processed germ line segments nested within divergent regions. To study genome evolution in this ciliate further, we characterized two additional alternatively processed gene families from two cryptic species of the ciliate morphospecies C. uncinata: those encoding histidine acid phosphatase protein (Hap) and leishmanolysin family protein (Lei). Analyses of the macronuclear Hap and Lei sequences reveal that each gene family consists of three members in the macronucleus that are marked by identical regions nested among highly divergent regions. Investigation of the micronuclear Hap sequences revealed a complex pattern in which the three macronuclear sequences are derived either from a single micronuclear region or from a combination of this shared region recombined with additional duplicate micronuclear copies of Hap. We propose a model whereby gene scrambling evolves by gene duplication followed by partial and reciprocal degradation of the duplicate sequences. In this model, alternative processing represents an intermediate step in the evolution of scrambled genes. Finally, we speculate on the possible role of genome architecture in speciation in ciliates by describing what might happen if changes in alternatively processed loci occur in subdivided populations. IMPORTANCE : Genome rearrangements occur in a variety of eukaryotic cells and serve as an important mechanism for generating genomic diversity. The unusual genome architecture of ciliates with separate germline and somatic nuclei in each cell, provides an ideal system to study further principles of genome evolution. Previous analyses revealed complex forms of chromosome rearrangements, including gene scrambling and alternative processing of germ line chromosomes. Here we describe more complex rearrangements between germ line and somatic chromosomes than previously seen in alternatively processed gene families. Drawing on the present and previous findings, we propose a model in which alternative processing of duplicated micronuclear regions represents an intermediate stage in the evolution of scrambled genes. Under this model, alternative processing may provide insights into a mechanism for speciation in ciliates. Our data on gene scrambling and alternative processing also enhance views on the dynamic nature of genomes across the eukaryotic tree of life. Copyright © 2015 Gao et al.mBio 02/2015; 6(1). DOI:10.1128/mBio.01998-14 · 6.88 Impact Factor