[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The house mouse, Mus musculus, was established in the early 1900s as one of the first genetic model organisms owing to its short generation time, comparatively large litters, ease of husbandry, and visible phenotypic variants. For these reasons and because they are mammals, house mice are well suited to serve as models for human phenotypes and disease. House mice in the wild consist of at least three distinct subspecies and harbor extensive genetic and phenotypic variation both within and between these subspecies. Wild mice have been used to study a wide range of biological processes, including immunity, cancer, male sterility, adaptive evolution, and non-Mendelian inheritance. Despite the extensive variation that exists among wild mice, classical laboratory strains are derived from a limited set of founders and thus contain only a small subset of this variation. Continued efforts to study wild house mice and to create new inbred strains from wild populations have the potential to strengthen house mice as a model system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Facial recognition plays a key role in human interactions, and there has been great interest in understanding the evolution of human abilities for individual recognition and tracking social relationships. Individual recognition requires sufficient cognitive abilities and phenotypic diversity within a population for discrimination to be possible. Despite the importance of facial recognition in humans, the evolution of facial identity has received little attention. Here we demonstrate that faces evolved to signal individual identity under negative frequency-dependent selection. Faces show elevated phenotypic variation and lower between-trait correlations compared with other traits. Regions surrounding face-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms show elevated diversity consistent with frequency-dependent selection. Genetic variation maintained by identity signalling tends to be shared across populations and, for some loci, predates the origin of Homo sapiens. Studies of human social evolution tend to emphasize cognitive adaptations, but we show that social evolution has shaped patterns of human phenotypic and genetic diversity as well.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The analysis of introgression of genomic regions between divergent populations provides an excellent opportunity to determine the genetic basis of reproductive isolation during the early stages of speciation. However, hybridization and subsequent gene flow must be relatively common in order to localize individual loci that resist introgression. In this study, we used next-generation sequencing to study genome-wide patterns of genetic differentiation between two hybridizing subspecies of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus algirus and O. c. cuniculus) that are known to undergo high rates of gene exchange. Our primary objective was to identify specific genes or genomic regions that have resisted introgression and are likely to confer reproductive barriers in natural conditions. On the basis of 326,000 polymorphisms, we found low to moderate overall levels of differentiation between subspecies, and fewer than 200 genomic regions dispersed throughout the genome showing high differentiation consistent with a signature of reduced gene flow. Most differentiated regions were smaller than 200 Kb and contained very few genes. Remarkably, 30 regions were each found to contain a single gene, facilitating the identification of candidate genes underlying reproductive isolation. This gene-level resolution yielded several insights into the genetic basis and architecture of reproductive isolation in rabbits. Regions of high differentiation were enriched on the X-chromosome and near centromeres. Genes lying within differentiated regions were often associated with transcription and epigenetic activities, including chromatin organization, regulation of transcription, and DNA binding. Overall, our results from a naturally hybridizing system share important commonalities with hybrid incompatibility genes identified using laboratory crosses in mice and flies, highlighting general mechanisms underlying the maintenance of reproductive barriers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One approach to understanding the genetic basis of speciation is to scan the genomes of recently diverged taxa to identify highly differentiated regions. The house mouse, Mus musculus, provides a useful system for the study of speciation. Three subspecies (M. m. castaneus, M. m. domesticus, and M. m. musculus) diverged ~350 KYA, are distributed parapatrically, show varying degrees of reproductive isolation in laboratory crosses, and hybridize in nature. We sequenced the testes transcriptomes of multiple wild-derived inbred lines from each subspecies to identify highly differentiated regions of the genome, to identify genes showing high expression divergence, and to compare patterns of differentiation among subspecies that have different demographic histories and exhibit different levels of reproductive isolation. Using a sliding-window approach, we found many genomic regions with high levels of sequence differentiation in each of the pairwise comparisons among subspecies. In all comparisons, the X chromosome was more highly differentiated than the autosomes. Sequence differentiation and expression divergence were greater in the M. m. domesticus - M. m. musculus comparison than in either pairwise comparison with M. m. castaneus, consistent with laboratory crosses which show greatest reproductive isolation between M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus. Coalescent simulations suggest that differences in estimates of effective population size can account for many of the observed patterns. However, there was an excess of highly differentiated regions relative to simulated distributions under a wide range of demographic scenarios. Overlap of some highly differentiated regions with previous results from QTL mapping and hybrid zone studies points to promising candidate regions for reproductive isolation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Post-copulatory sexual selection in the form of sperm competition is known to influence the evolution of male reproductive proteins in mammals. The relationship between sperm competition and regulatory evolution, however, remains to be explored. Protamines and transition nuclear proteins are involved in the condensation of sperm chromatin and are expected to affect the shape of the sperm head. A hydrodynamically efficient head allows for fast swimming velocity and, therefore, more competitive sperm. Previous comparative studies in rodents have documented a significant association between the level of sperm competition (as measured by relative testes mass) and DNA sequence evolution in both the coding and promoter sequences of protamine 2. Here, we investigate the influence of sexual selection on protamine and transition nuclear protein mRNA expression in the testes of eight mouse species that differ widely in levels of sperm competition. We also examined the relationship between relative gene expression levels and sperm head shape, assessed using geometric morphometrics. We found that species with higher levels of sperm competition express less protamine 2 in relation to protamine 1 and transition nuclear proteins. Moreover, there was a significant association between relative protamine 2 expression and sperm head shape. Reduction in the relative abundance of protamine 2 may increase the competitive ability of sperm in mice, possibly by affecting sperm head shape. Changes in gene regulatory sequences thus seem to be the basis of the evolutionary response to sexual selection in these proteins.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 03/2014; 281(1783):20133359. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2013.3359 · 5.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Speciation is a fundamental evolutionary process, the knowledge of which is crucial for understanding the origins of biodiversity. Genomic approaches are an increasingly important aspect of this research field. We review current understanding of genome-wide effects of accumulating reproductive isolation and of genomic properties that influence the process of speciation. Building on this work, we identify emergent trends and gaps in our understanding, propose new approaches to more fully integrate genomics into speciation research, translate speciation theory into hypotheses that are testable using genomic tools and provide an integrative definition of the field of speciation genomics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic basis of hybrid male sterility in house mice is complex, highly polygenic, and strongly X-linked. Previous work suggested that there might be interactions between the Mus musculus musculus X and the Mus musculus domesticus Y with a large negative effect on sperm head morphology in hybrid males with an F1 autosomal background. To test this, we introgressed the M. m. domesticus Y onto a M. m. musculus background and measured the change in sperm morphology, testis weight and sperm count across early backcross generations and in eleventh generation backcross males in which the opportunity for X-autosome incompatibilities is effectively eliminated. We found that abnormality in sperm morphology persists in M. m. domesticus Y introgression males, and that this phenotype is rescued by M. m. domesticus introgressions on the X chromosome. In contrast, the severe reductions in testis weight and sperm count that characterize F1 males were eliminated after one generation of backcrossing. These results indicate that X-Y incompatibilities contribute specifically to sperm morphology. In contrast, X-autosome incompatibilities contribute to low testis weight, low sperm count, and sperm morphology. Restoration of normal testis weight and sperm count in first generation backcross males suggests that a small number of complex incompatibilities between loci on the M. m. musculus X and the M. m. domesticus autosomes underlie F1 male sterility. Together, these results provide insight into the genetic architecture of F1 male sterility, and help to explain genome-wide patterns of introgression across the house mouse hybrid zone.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nearly 25 years ago, Allan Wilson and colleagues isolated DNA sequences from museum specimens of kangaroo rats (Dipodomys panamintinus) and compared these sequences with those from freshly collected animals (Thomas et al. 1990). The museum specimens had been collected up to 78 years earlier, so the two samples provided a direct temporal comparison of patterns of genetic variation. This was not the first time DNA sequences had been isolated from preserved material, but it was the first time it had been carried out with a population sample. Population geneticists often try to make inferences about the influence of historical processes such as selection, drift, mutation and migration on patterns of genetic variation in the present. The work of Wilson and colleagues was important in part because it suggested a way in which population geneticists could actually study genetic change in natural populations through time, much the same way that experimentalists can do with artificial populations in the laboratory. Indeed, the work of Thomas et al. (1990) spawned dozens of studies in which museum specimens were used to compare historical and present-day genetic diversity (reviewed in Wandeler et al. 2007). All of these studies, however, were limited by the same fundamental problem: old DNA is degraded into short fragments. As a consequence, these studies mostly involved PCR amplification of short templates, usually short stretches of mitochondrial DNA or microsatellites. In this issue, Bi et al. (2013) report a breakthrough that should open the door to studies of genomic variation in museum specimens. They used target enrichment (exon capture) and next-generation (Illumina) sequencing to compare patterns of genetic variation in historic and present-day population samples of alpine chipmunks (Tamias alpinus) (Fig. 1). The historic samples came from specimens collected in 1915, so the temporal span of this comparison is nearly 100 years.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintenance of genetic distinction in the face of gene flow is an important aspect of the speciation process. Here, we provide a detailed spatial and genetic characterization of a hybrid zone between two subspecies of the European rabbit. We examined patterns of allele frequency change for 22 markers located on the autosomes, X-chromosome, Y-chromosome and mtDNA in 1078 individuals sampled across the hybrid zone. While some loci revealed extremely wide clines (w ≥ 300 km) relative to an estimated dispersal of 1.95-4.22 km/generation, others showed abrupt transitions (w ≈ 10 km), indicating localized genomic regions of strong selection against introgression. The subset of loci showing steep clines had largely coincident centers and stepped changes in allele frequency that did not co-localize with any physical barrier or ecotone, suggesting that the rabbit hybrid zone is a tension zone. The steepest clines were for X- and Y-chromosome markers. Our results are consistent with previous inference based on DNA sequence variation of individuals sampled in allopatry in suggesting that a large proportion of each genome has escaped the overall barrier to gene flow in the middle of the hybrid zone. These results imply an old history of hybridization and high effective gene flow and anticipate that isolation factors should often localize to small genomic regions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In male mammals, the X and Y chromosomes are transcriptionally silenced in primary spermatocytes by meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI) and remain repressed for the duration of spermatogenesis. Here, we test the longstanding hypothesis that disrupted MSCI might contribute to the preferential sterility of heterogametic hybrid males. We studied a cross between wild-derived inbred strains of Mus musculus musculus and M. m. domesticus in which sterility is asymmetric: F(1) males with a M. m. musculus mother are sterile or nearly so while F(1) males with a M. m. domesticus mother are normal. In previous work, we discovered widespread over-expression of X-linked genes in the testes of sterile but not fertile F(1) males. Here, we ask whether this over-expression is specifically a result of disrupted MSCI. To do this, we isolated cells from different stages of spermatogenesis and measured the expression of several genes using quantitative PCR. We found that X over-expression in sterile F(1) primary spermatocytes is coincident with the onset of MSCI and persists in postmeiotic spermatids. Using a series of recombinant X genotypes, we then asked whether X over-expression in hybrids is controlled by cis-acting loci across the X chromosome. We found that it is not. Instead, one large interval in the proximal portion of the M. m. musculus X chromosome is associated with both over-expression and the severity of sterility phenotypes in hybrids. These results demonstrate a strong association between X-linked hybrid male sterility and disruption of MSCI, and suggest that trans-acting loci on the X are important for the transcriptional regulation of the X chromosome during spermatogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hybrid sterility in the heterogametic sex is a common feature of speciation in animals. In house mice, the contribution of the Mus musculus musculus X chromosome to hybrid male sterility is large. It is not known, however, whether F1 male sterility is caused by X-Y or X-autosome incompatibilities or a combination of both. We investigated the contribution of the M. musculus domesticus Y chromosome to hybrid male sterility in a cross between wild-derived strains in which males with a M. m. musculus X chromosome and M. m. domesticus Y chromosome are partially sterile, while males from the reciprocal cross are reproductively normal. We used eight X introgression lines to combine different X chromosome genotypes with different Y chromosomes on an F1 autosomal background, and we measured a suite of male reproductive traits. Reproductive deficits were observed in most F1 males, regardless of Y chromosome genotype. Nonetheless, we found evidence for a negative interaction between the M. m. domesticus Y and an interval on the M. m. musculus X that resulted in abnormal sperm morphology. Therefore, although F1 male sterility appears to be caused mainly by X-autosome incompatibilities, X-Y incompatibilities contribute to some aspects of sterility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies of a hybrid zone between two house mouse subspecies (Mus musculus musculus and M. m. domesticus) along with studies using laboratory crosses reveal a large role for the X chromosome and multiple autosomal regions in reproductive isolation as a consequence of disrupted epistasis in hybrids. One limitation of previous work has been that most of the identified genomic regions have been large. The goal here is to detect and characterize precise genomic regions underlying reproductive isolation. We surveyed 1401 markers evenly spaced across the genome in 679 mice collected from two different transects. Comparisons between transects provide a means for identifying common patterns that likely reflect intrinsic incompatibilities. We used a genomic cline approach to identify patterns that correspond to epistasis. From both transects, we identified contiguous regions on the X chromosome in which markers were inferred to be involved in epistatic interactions. We then searched for autosomal regions showing the same patterns and found they constitute about 5% of autosomal markers. We discovered substantial overlap between these candidate regions underlying reproductive isolation and QTL for hybrid sterility identified in laboratory crosses. Analysis of gene content in these regions suggests a key role for several mechanisms, including the regulation of transcription, sexual conflict and sexual selection operating at both the postmating prezygotic and postzygotic stages of reproductive isolation. Taken together, these results indicate that speciation in two recently diverged (c. 0.5 Ma) house mouse subspecies is complex, involving many genes dispersed throughout the genome and associated with distinct functions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estimates of the proportion of amino acid substitutions that have been fixed by selection (α) vary widely among taxa, ranging from zero in humans to over 50% in Drosophila. This wide range may reflect differences in the efficacy of selection due to differences in the effective population size (N(e)). However, most comparisons have been made among distantly related organisms that differ not only in N(e) but also in many other aspects of their biology. Here, we estimate α in three closely related lineages of house mice that have a similar ecology but differ widely in N(e): Mus musculus musculus (N(e) ∼ 25,000-120,000), M. m. domesticus (N(e) ∼ 58,000-200,000), and M. m. castaneus (N(e) ∼ 200,000-733,000). Mice were genotyped using a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism array, and the proportions of replacement and silent mutations within subspecies were compared with those fixed between each subspecies and an outgroup, Mus spretus. There was significant evidence of positive selection in M. m. castaneus, the lineage with the largest N(e), with α estimated to be approximately 40%. In contrast, estimates of α for M. m. domesticus (α = 13%) and for M. m. musculus (α = 12 %) were much smaller. Interestingly, the higher estimate of α for M. m. castaneus appears to reflect not only more adaptive fixations but also more effective purifying selection. These results support the hypothesis that differences in N(e) contribute to differences among species in the efficacy of selection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently diverged taxa may continue to exchange genes. A number of models of speciation with gene flow propose that the frequency of gene exchange will be lower in genomic regions of low recombination and that these regions will therefore be more differentiated. However, several population-genetic models that focus on selection at linked sites also predict greater differentiation in regions of low recombination simply as a result of faster sorting of ancestral alleles even in the absence of gene flow. Moreover, identifying the actual amount of gene flow from patterns of genetic variation is tricky, because both ancestral polymorphism and migration lead to shared variation between recently diverged taxa. New analytic methods have been developed to help distinguish ancestral polymorphism from migration. Along with a growing number of datasets of multi-locus DNA sequence variation, these methods have spawned a renewed interest in speciation models with gene flow. Here, we review both speciation and population-genetic models that make explicit predictions about how the rate of recombination influences patterns of genetic variation within and between species. We then compare those predictions with empirical data of DNA sequence variation in rabbits and mice. We find strong support for the prediction that genomic regions experiencing low levels of recombination are more differentiated. In most cases, reduced gene flow appears to contribute to the pattern, although disentangling the relative contribution of reduced gene flow and selection at linked sites remains a challenge. We suggest fruitful areas of research that might help distinguish between different models.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 02/2012; 367(1587):409-21. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2011.0249 · 7.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution predicts that the efficacy of both positive and purifying selection is a function of the long-term effective population size (N(e)) of a species. Under this theory, the efficacy of natural selection should increase with N(e). Here, we tested this simple prediction by surveying ~1.5 to 1.8 Mb of protein coding sequence in the two subspecies of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus algirus and O. c. cuniculus), a mammal species characterized by high levels of nucleotide diversity and N(e) estimates for each subspecies on the order of 1 × 10(6). When the segregation of slightly deleterious mutations and demographic effects were taken into account, we inferred that >60% of amino acid substitutions on the autosomes were driven to fixation by positive selection. Moreover, we inferred that a small fraction of new amino acid mutations (<4%) are effectively neutral (defined as 0 < N(e)s < 1) and that this fraction was negatively correlated with a gene's expression level. Consistent with models of recurrent adaptive evolution, we detected a negative correlation between levels of synonymous site polymorphism and the rate of protein evolution, although the correlation was weak and nonsignificant. No systematic X chromosome-autosome difference was found in the efficacy of selection. For example, the proportion of adaptive substitutions was significantly higher on the X chromosome compared with the autosomes in O. c. algirus but not in O. c. cuniculus. Our findings support widespread positive and purifying selection in rabbits and add to a growing list of examples suggesting that differences in N(e) among taxa play a substantial role in determining rates and patterns of protein evolution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the early stages of reproductive isolation, genomic regions of reduced recombination are expected to show greater levels of differentiation, either because gene flow between species is reduced in these regions or because the effects of selection at linked sites within species are enhanced in these regions. Here, we study the patterns of DNA sequence variation at 27 autosomal loci among populations of Mus musculus musculus, M. m. domesticus, and M. m. castaneus, three subspecies of house mice with collinear genomes. We found that some loci exhibit considerable shared variation among subspecies, while others exhibit fixed differences. We used an isolation-with-gene-flow model to estimate divergence times and effective population sizes (N(e) ) and to disentangle ancestral variation from gene flow. Estimates of divergence time indicate that all three subspecies diverged from one another within a very short period of time approximately 350,000 years ago. Overall, N(e) for each subspecies was associated with the degree of genetic differentiation: M. m. musculus had the smallest N(e) and the greatest proportion of monophyletic gene genealogies, while M. m. castaneus had the largest N(e) and the smallest proportion of monophyletic gene genealogies. M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus were more differentiated from each other than either were from M. m. castaneus, consistent with greater reproductive isolation between M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus. F(ST) was significantly greater at loci experiencing low recombination rates compared to loci experiencing high recombination rates in comparisons between M. m. castaneus and M. m. musculus or M. m. domesticus. These results provide evidence that genomic regions with less recombination show greater differentiation, even in the absence of chromosomal rearrangements.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polymorphisms in the vitamin K 2,3-epoxide reductase subcomponent 1 (vkorc1) of house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) can cause resistance to anticoagulant rodenticides such as warfarin [1-3]. Here we show that resistant house mice can also originate from selection on vkorc1 polymorphisms acquired from the Algerian mouse (M. spretus) through introgressive hybridization. We report on a polymorphic introgressed genomic region in European M. m. domesticus that stems from M. spretus, spans >10 Mb on chromosome 7, and includes the molecular target of anticoagulants vkorc1 [1-4]. We show that in the laboratory, the homozygous complete vkorc1 allele of M. spretus confers resistance when introgressed into M. m. domesticus. Consistent with selection on the introgressed allele after the introduction of rodenticides in the 1950s, we found signatures of selection in patterns of variation in M. m. domesticus. Furthermore, we detected adaptive protein evolution of vkorc1 in M. spretus (Ka/Ks = 1.54-1.93) resulting in radical amino acid substitutions that apparently cause anticoagulant tolerance in M. spretus as a pleiotropic effect. Thus, positive selection produced an adaptive, divergent, and pleiotropic vkorc1 allele in the donor species, M. spretus, which crossed a species barrier and produced an adaptive polymorphic trait in the recipient species, M. m. domesticus.
Current biology: CB 08/2011; 21(15):1296-301. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2011.06.043 · 9.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Theory predicts that naturally occurring hybrid zones between genetically distinct taxa can move over space and time as a result of selection and/or demographic processes, with certain types of hybrid zones being more or less likely to move. Determining whether a hybrid zone is stationary or moving has important implications for understanding evolutionary processes affecting interactions in hybrid populations. However, direct observations of hybrid zone movement are difficult to make unless the zone is moving rapidly. Here, evidence for movement in the house mouse Mus musculus domesticus × Mus musculus musculus hybrid zone is provided using measures of LD and haplotype structure among neighbouring SNP markers from across the genome. Local populations of mice across two transects in Germany and the Czech Republic were sampled, and a total of 1301 mice were genotyped at 1401 markers from the nuclear genome. Empirical measures of LD provide evidence for extinction and (re)colonization in single populations and, together with simulations, suggest hybrid zone movement because of either geography-dependent asymmetrical dispersal or selection favouring one subspecies over the other.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Seminal fluid plays an important role in successful fertilization, but knowledge of the full suite of proteins transferred from males to females during copulation is incomplete. The list of ejaculated proteins remains particularly scant in one of the best-studied mammalian systems, the house mouse (Mus domesticus), where artificial ejaculation techniques have proven inadequate. Here we investigate an alternative method for identifying ejaculated proteins, by isotopically labeling females with 15N and then mating them to unlabeled, vasectomized males. Proteins were then isolated from mated females and identified using mass spectrometry. In addition to gaining insights into possible functions and fates of ejaculated proteins, our study serves as proof of concept that isotopic labeling is a powerful means to study reproductive proteins.
We identified 69 male-derived proteins from the female reproductive tract following copulation. More than a third of all spectra detected mapped to just seven genes known to be structurally important in the formation of the copulatory plug, a hard coagulum that forms shortly after mating. Seminal fluid is significantly enriched for proteins that function in protection from oxidative stress and endopeptidase inhibition. Females, on the other hand, produce endopeptidases in response to mating. The 69 ejaculated proteins evolve significantly more rapidly than other proteins that we previously identified directly from dissection of the male reproductive tract.
Our study attempts to comprehensively identify the proteins transferred from males to females during mating, expanding the application of isotopic labeling to mammalian reproductive genomics. This technique opens the way to the targeted monitoring of the fate of ejaculated proteins as they incubate in the female reproductive tract.