Extensive linkage disequilibrium and parallel adaptive divergence across threespine stickleback genomes.
ABSTRACT Population genomic studies are beginning to provide a more comprehensive view of dynamic genome-scale processes in evolution. Patterns of genomic architecture, such as genomic islands of increased divergence, may be important for adaptive population differentiation and speciation. We used next-generation sequencing data to examine the patterns of local and long-distance linkage disequilibrium (LD) across oceanic and freshwater populations of threespine stickleback, a useful model for studies of evolution and speciation. We looked for associations between LD and signatures of divergent selection, and assessed the role of recombination rate variation in generating LD patterns. As predicted under the traditional biogeographic model of unidirectional gene flow from ancestral oceanic to derived freshwater stickleback populations, we found extensive local and long-distance LD in fresh water. Surprisingly, oceanic populations showed similar patterns of elevated LD, notably between large genomic regions previously implicated in adaptation to fresh water. These results support an alternative biogeographic model for the stickleback radiation, one of a metapopulation with appreciable bi-directional gene flow combined with strong divergent selection between oceanic and freshwater populations. As predicted by theory, these processes can maintain LD within and among genomic islands of divergence. These findings suggest that the genomic architecture in oceanic stickleback populations may provide a mechanism for the rapid re-assembly and evolution of multi-locus genotypes in newly colonized freshwater habitats, and may help explain genetic mapping of parallel phenotypic variation to similar loci across independent freshwater populations.
Article: Speciation genes.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Until recently, the genes that cause reproductive isolation remained black boxes. Consequently, evolutionary biologists were unable to answer several questions about the identities and characteristics of "speciation genes". Over the past few years, however, evolutionary geneticists have finally succeeded in isolating several such genes, providing our first glimpse at factors that are thought to be representative of those underlying the origin of species. Evolutionary analysis of these genes suggests that speciation results from positive Darwinian selection within species. Molecular evolutionary study of the genes causing reproductive isolation may represent an important new phase in the study of speciation.Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 01/2005; 14(6):675-9. · 8.09 Impact Factor
Article: Genetic and developmental basis of evolutionary pelvic reduction in threespine sticklebacks[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Hindlimb loss has evolved repeatedly in many different animals by means of molecular mechanisms that are still unknown. To determine the number and type of genetic changes underlying pelvic reduction in natural populations, we carried out genetic crosses between threespine stickleback fish with complete or missing pelvic structures. Genome-wide linkage mapping shows that pelvic reduction is controlled by one major and four minor chromosome regions. Pitx1 maps to the major chromosome region controlling most of the variation in pelvic size. Pelvic-reduced fish show the same left–right asymmetry seen in Pitx1 knockout mice, but do not show changes in Pitx1 protein sequence. Instead, pelvic-reduced sticklebacks show site-specific regulatory changes in Pitx1 expression, with reduced or absent expression in pelvic and caudal fin precursors. Regulatory mutations in major developmental control genes may provide a mechanism for generating rapid skeletal changes in natural populations, while preserving the essential roles of these genes in other processes.Nature 04/2004; 428(6984):717-723. · 36.28 Impact Factor