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Rapid range expansion increases genetic differentiation while causing limited reduction in genetic diversity in a damselfly.


ABSTRACT: Many ectothermic species are currently expanding their geographic range due to global warming. This can modify the population genetic diversity and structure of these species because of genetic drift during the colonization of new areas. Although the genetic signatures of historical range expansions have been investigated in an array of species, the genetic consequences of natural, contemporary range expansions have received little attention, with the only studies available focusing on range expansions along a narrow front. We investigate the genetic consequences of a natural range expansion in the Mediterranean damselfly Coenagrion scitulum, which is currently rapidly expanding along a broad front in different directions. We assessed genetic diversity and genetic structure using 12 microsatellite markers in five centrally located populations and five recently established populations at the edge of the geographic distribution. Our results suggest that, although a marginal significant decrease in the allelic richness was found in the edge populations, genetic diversity has been preserved during the range expansion of this species. Nevertheless, edge populations were genetically more differentiated compared with core populations, suggesting genetic drift during the range expansion. The smaller effective population sizes of the edge populations compared with central populations also suggest a contribution of genetic drift after colonization. We argue and document that range expansion along multiple axes of a broad expansion front generates little reduction in genetic diversity, yet stronger differentiation of the edge populations.

SUBMITTER: Swaegers J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3806023 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.1038/hdy.2013.64

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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