Parallel evolution of local adaptation and reproductive isolation in the face of gene flow.
ABSTRACT: Parallel evolution of similar phenotypes provides strong evidence for the operation of natural selection. Where these phenotypes contribute to reproductive isolation, they further support a role for divergent, habitat-associated selection in speciation. However, the observation of pairs of divergent ecotypes currently occupying contrasting habitats in distinct geographical regions is not sufficient to infer parallel origins. Here we show striking parallel phenotypic divergence between populations of the rocky-shore gastropod, Littorina saxatilis, occupying contrasting habitats exposed to either wave action or crab predation. This divergence is associated with barriers to gene exchange but, nevertheless, genetic variation is more strongly structured by geography than by ecotype. Using approximate Bayesian analysis of sequence data and amplified fragment length polymorphism markers, we show that the ecotypes are likely to have arisen in the face of continuous gene flow and that the demographic separation of ecotypes has occurred in parallel at both regional and local scales. Parameter estimates suggest a long delay between colonization of a locality and ecotype formation, perhaps because the postglacial spread of crab populations was slower than the spread of snails. Adaptive differentiation may not be fully genetically independent despite being demographically parallel. These results provide new insight into a major model of ecologically driven speciation.
Project description:The process of plant speciation often involves the evolution of divergent ecotypes in response to differences in soil water availability between habitats. While the same set of traits is frequently associated with xeric/mesic ecotype divergence, it is unknown whether those traits evolve independently or if they evolve in tandem as a result of genetic colocalization either by pleiotropy or genetic linkage. The self-fertilizing C4 grass species Panicum hallii includes two major ecotypes found in xeric (var. hallii) or mesic (var. filipes) habitats. We constructed the first linkage map for P. hallii by genotyping a reduced representation genomic library of an F2 population derived from an intercross of var. hallii and filipes. We then evaluated the genetic architecture of divergence between these ecotypes through quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping. Overall, we mapped QTLs for nine morphological traits that are involved in the divergence between the ecotypes. QTLs for five key ecotype-differentiating traits all colocalized to the same region of linkage group five. Leaf physiological traits were less divergent between ecotypes, but we still mapped five physiological QTLs. We also discovered a two-locus Dobzhansky-Muller hybrid incompatibility. Our study suggests that ecotype-differentiating traits may evolve in tandem as a result of genetic colocalization.
Project description:The rough periwinkle, Littorina saxatilis, is a model system for studying parallel ecological speciation in microparapatry. Phenotypically parallel wave-adapted and crab-adapted ecotypes that hybridize within the middle shore are replicated along the northwestern coast of Spain and have likely arisen from two separate glacial refugia. We tested whether greater geographic separation corresponding to reduced opportunity for contemporary or historical gene flow between parallel ecotypes resulted in less parallel genomic divergence. We sequenced double-digested restriction-associated DNA (ddRAD) libraries from individual snails from upper, mid, and low intertidal levels of three separate sites colonized from two separate refugia. Outlier analysis of 4256 SNP markers identified 34.4% sharing of divergent loci between two geographically close sites; however, these sites each shared only 9.9%-15.1% of their divergent loci with a third more-distant site. STRUCTURE analysis revealed that genotypes from only three of 166 phenotypically intermediate mid-shore individuals appeared to result from recent hybridization, suggesting that hybrids cannot be reliably identified using shell traits. Hierarchical AMOVA indicated that the primary source of genomic differentiation was geographic separation, but also revealed greater similarity of the same ecotype across the two geographically close sites than previously estimated with dominant markers. These results from a model system for ecological speciation suggest that genomic parallelism is affected by the opportunity for historical or contemporary gene flow between populations.
Project description:Ecology can play a major role in species diversification. As individuals are adapting to contrasting habitats, reproductive barriers may evolve at multiple levels. While pre-mating barriers have been extensively studied, the evolution of post-mating reproductive isolation during early stages of ecological speciation remains poorly understood. In diverging three-spined stickleback ecotypes from two lakes and two rivers, we observed differences in sperm traits between lake and river males. Interestingly, these differences did not translate into ecotype-specific gamete precedence for sympatric males in competitive in vitro fertilization experiments, potentially owing to antagonistic compensatory effects. However, we observed indirect evidence for impeded development of inter-ecotype zygotes, possibly suggesting an early stage of genetic incompatibility between ecotypes. Our results show that pre-zygotic post-copulatory mechanisms play a minor role during this first stage of ecotype divergence, but suggest that genetic incompatibilities may arise at early stages of ecological speciation.
Project description:Ecological speciation is the process by which reproductively isolated populations emerge as a consequence of divergent natural or ecologically-mediated sexual selection. Most genomic studies of ecological speciation have investigated allopatric populations, making it difficult to infer reproductive isolation. The few studies on sympatric ecotypes have focused on advanced stages of the speciation process after thousands of generations of divergence. As a consequence, we still do not know what genomic signatures of the early onset of ecological speciation look like. Here, we examined genomic differentiation among migratory lake and resident stream ecotypes of threespine stickleback reproducing in sympatry in one stream, and in parapatry in another stream. Importantly, these ecotypes started diverging less than 150 years ago. We obtained 34,756 SNPs with restriction-site associated DNA sequencing and identified genomic islands of differentiation using a Hidden Markov Model approach. Consistent with incipient ecological speciation, we found significant genomic differentiation between ecotypes both in sympatry and parapatry. Of 19 islands of differentiation resisting gene flow in sympatry, all were also differentiated in parapatry and were thus likely driven by divergent selection among habitats. These islands clustered in quantitative trait loci controlling divergent traits among the ecotypes, many of them concentrated in one region with low to intermediate recombination. Our findings suggest that adaptive genomic differentiation at many genetic loci can arise and persist in sympatry at the very early stage of ecotype divergence, and that the genomic architecture of adaptation may facilitate this.
Project description:The mosaic distribution of interbreeding taxa with contrasting ecology and morphology offers an opportunity to study microevolutionary dynamics during ecological divergence. We investigate here the evolutionary history of an alpine and a montane ecotype of Heliosperma pusillum (Caryophyllaceae) in the south-eastern Alps. From six pairs of geographically close populations of the two ecotypes (120 individuals) we obtained a high-coverage restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) dataset that was used for demographic inference to test the hypothesis of parallel evolution of the two ecotypes. The data are consistent with repeated ecological divergence in H. pusillum, uncovering up to five polytopic origins of one ecotype from the other. A complex evolutionary history is evidenced, with local isolation-with-migration in two population pairs and intra-ecotype migration in two others. In all cases, the time of divergence or secondary contact was inferred as postglacial. A metagenomic analysis on exogenous contaminant RAD sequences suggests divergent microbial communities between the ecotypes. The lack of shared genomic regions of high divergence across population pairs illustrates the action of drift and/or local selection in shaping genetic divergence across repeated cases of ecological divergence.
Project description:Adaptation to contrasting environments occurs when advantageous alleles accumulate in each population, but it remains largely unknown whether these same advantageous alleles create genetic incompatibilities that can cause intrinsic reproductive isolation leading to speciation. Identifying alleles that underlie both adaptation and reproductive isolation is further complicated by factors such as dominance and genetic interactions among loci, which can affect both processes differently and obscure potential links between adaptation and speciation. Here, we use a combination of field and glasshouse experiments to explore the connection between adaptation and speciation while accounting for dominance and genetic interactions. We created a hybrid population with equal contributions from four contrasting ecotypes of Senecio lautus (Asteraceae), which produced hybrid genomes both before (F1 hybrid generation) and after (F4 hybrid generation) recombination among the parental ecotypes. In the glasshouse, plants in the second generation (F2 hybrid generation) showed reduced fitness as a loss of fertility. However, fertility was recovered in subsequent generations, suggesting that genetic variation underlying the fitness reduction was lost in subsequent generations. To quantify the effects of losing genetic variation at the F2 generation on the fitness of later generation hybrids, we used a reciprocal transplant to test for fitness differences between parental ecotypes, and F1 and F4 hybrids in all four parental habitats. Compared to the parental ecotypes and F1 hybrids, variance in F4 hybrid fitness was lower, and lowest in habitats that showed stronger native-ecotype advantage, suggesting that stronger natural selection for the native ecotype reduced fitness variation in the F4 hybrids. Fitness trade-offs that were present in the parental ecotypes and F1 hybrids were absent in the F4 hybrid. Together, these results suggest that the genetic variation lost after the F2 generation was likely associated with both adaptation and intrinsic reproductive isolation among ecotypes from contrasting habitats.
Project description:Speciation encompasses a continuum over time from freely interbreeding populations to reproductively isolated species. Along this process, ecotypes - the result of local adaptation - may be on the road to new species. We investigated whether three autotetraploid Cochlearia officinalis ecotypes, adapted to different habitats (beach, estuary, spring), are genetically differentiated and result from parallel ecotypic divergence in two distinct geographical regions. We obtained genetic data from thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) and from six microsatellite markers for 12 populations to assess genetic divergence at ecotypic, geographic and population level. The genetic patterns support differentiation among ecotypes as suggested by morphology and ecology. The data fit a scenario where the ancestral beach ecotype has recurrently and polytopically given rise to the estuary and spring ecotypes. Several ecologically-relevant loci with consistent non-random segregating patterns are identified across the recurrent origins, in particular around genes related to salt stress. Despite being ecologically distinct, the Cochlearia ecotypes still represent an early stage in the process of speciation, as reproductive isolation has not (yet) developed. A sequenced annotated genome is needed to specifically target candidate genes underlying local adaptation.
Project description:Spatial heterogeneity in diversity and intensity of parasitism is a typical feature of most host-parasite interactions, but understanding of the evolutionary implications of such variation is limited. One possible outcome of infection heterogeneities is parasite-mediated divergent selection between host populations, ecotypes or species which may facilitate the process of ecological speciation. However, very few studies have described infections in population-pairs along the speciation continuum from low to moderate or high degree of genetic differentiation that would address the possibility of parasite-mediated divergent selection in the early stages of the speciation process. Here we provide an example of divergent parasitism in freshwater fish ecotypes by examining macroparasite infections in threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) of four Swiss lake systems each harbouring parapatric lake-stream ecotype pairs. We demonstrate significant differences in infections within and between the pairs that are driven particularly by the parasite taxa transmitted to fish from benthic invertebrates. The magnitude of the differences tended to correlate positively with the extent of neutral genetic differentiation between the parapatric lake and stream populations of stickleback, whereas no such correlation was found among allopatric populations from similar or contrasting habitats. This suggests that genetic differentiation is unrelated to the magnitude of parasite infection contrasts when gene flow is constrained by geographical barriers while in the absence of physical barriers, genetic differentiation and the magnitude of differences in infections tend to be positively correlated.
Project description:Parallel patterns of adaptive divergence and speciation are cited as powerful evidence for the role of selection driving these processes. However, it is often not clear whether parallel phenotypic divergence is underlain by parallel genetic changes. Here, we asked about the genetic basis of parallel divergence in the marine snail Littorina saxatilis, which has repeatedly evolved coexisting ecotypes adapted to either crab predation or wave action. We sequenced the transcriptome of snails of both ecotypes from three distant geographical locations (Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom) and mapped the reads to the L. saxatilis reference genome. We identified genomic regions potentially under divergent selection between ecotypes within each country, using an outlier approach based on F(ST) values calculated per locus. In line with previous studies indicating that gene reuse is generally common, we expected to find extensive sharing of outlier loci due to recent shared ancestry and gene flow between at least two of the locations in our study system. Contrary to our expectations, we found that most outliers were country specific, suggesting that much of the genetic basis of divergence is not shared among locations. However, we did find that more outliers were shared than expected by chance and that differentiation of shared outliers is often generated by the same SNPs. We discuss two mechanisms potentially explaining the limited amount of sharing we observed. First, a polygenic basis of divergent traits might allow for multiple distinct molecular mechanisms generating the same phenotypic patterns. Second, additional, location-specific axes of selection that we did not focus on in this study may produce distinct patterns of genetic divergence within each site.
Project description:The intertidal snail Littorina saxatilis has repeatedly evolved two parallel ecotypes assumed to be wave adapted and predatory shore crab adapted, but the magnitude and targets of predator-driven selection are unknown. In Spain, a small, wave ecotype with a large aperture from the lower shore and a large, thick-shelled crab ecotype from the upper shore meet in the mid-shore and show partial size-assortative mating. We performed complementary field tethering and laboratory predation experiments; the first set compared the survival of two different size-classes of the crab ecotype while the second compared the same size-class of the two ecotypes. In the first set, the large size-class of the crab ecotype survived significantly better than the small size-class both on the upper shore and in the laboratory. In the second set, the small size-class of the crab ecotype survived substantially better than that of the wave ecotype both on the upper shore and in the laboratory. Shell-breaking predation on tethered snails was almost absent within the lower shore. In the laboratory shore crabs (Pachygrapsus marmoratus) with larger claw heights selected most strongly against the small size-class of the crab ecotype, whereas those with medium claw heights selected most strongly against the thin-shelled wave ecotype. Sexual maturity occurred at a much larger size in the crab ecotype than in the wave ecotype. Our results showed that selection on the upper shore for rapid attainment of a size refuge from this gape-limited predator favors large size, thick shells, and late maturity. Model parameterization showed that size-selective predation restricted to the upper shore resulted in the evolution of the crab ecotype despite gene flow from the wave ecotype snails living on the lower shore. These results on gape-limited predation and previous ones showing size-assortative mating between ecotypes suggest that size may represent a magic trait for the thick-shelled ecotype.