Patterns of Z chromosome divergence among Heliconius species highlight the importance of historical demography.
ABSTRACT: Sex chromosomes are disproportionately involved in reproductive isolation and adaptation. In support of such a "large-X" effect, genome scans between recently diverged populations and species pairs often identify distinct patterns of divergence on the sex chromosome compared to autosomes. When measures of divergence between populations are higher on the sex chromosome compared to autosomes, such patterns could be interpreted as evidence for faster divergence on the sex chromosome, that is "faster-X", barriers to gene flow on the sex chromosome. However, demographic changes can strongly skew divergence estimates and are not always taken into consideration. We used 224 whole-genome sequences representing 36 populations from two Heliconius butterfly clades (H. erato and H. melpomene) to explore patterns of Z chromosome divergence. We show that increased divergence compared to equilibrium expectations can in many cases be explained by demographic change. Among Heliconius erato populations, for instance, population size increase in the ancestral population can explain increased absolute divergence measures on the Z chromosome compared to the autosomes, as a result of increased ancestral Z chromosome genetic diversity. Nonetheless, we do identify increased divergence on the Z chromosome relative to the autosomes in parapatric or sympatric species comparisons that imply postzygotic reproductive barriers. Using simulations, we show that this is consistent with reduced gene flow on the Z chromosome, perhaps due to greater accumulation of incompatibilities. Our work demonstrates the importance of taking demography into account to interpret patterns of divergence on the Z chromosome, but nonetheless provides evidence to support the Z chromosome as a strong barrier to gene flow in incipient Heliconius butterfly species.
Project description:Cis-regulatory evolution is an important engine of organismal diversification. Although recent studies have looked at genomic patterns of regulatory evolution between species, we still have a poor understanding of the magnitude and nature of regulatory variation within species. Here, we examine the evolution of regulatory element activity over wing development in three Heliconius erato butterfly populations to determine how regulatory variation is associated with population structure. We show that intraspecific divergence in chromatin accessibility and regulatory activity is abundant, and that regulatory variants are spatially clustered in the genome. Regions with strong population structure are highly enriched for regulatory variants, and enrichment patterns are associated with developmental stage and gene expression. We also found that variable regulatory elements are particularly enriched in species-specific genomic regions and long interspersed nuclear elements. Our findings suggest that genome-wide selection on chromatin accessibility and regulatory activity is an important force driving patterns of genomic divergence within Heliconius species. This work also provides a resource for the study of gene regulatory evolution in H. erato and other heliconiine butterflies.
Project description:We compare the historical demographies of two Müllerian comimetic butterfly species: Heliconius erato and Heliconius melpomene. These species show an extensive parallel geographic divergence in their aposematic wing phenotypes. Recent studies suggest that this coincident mosaic results from simultaneous demographic processes shaped by extrinsic forces over Pleistocene climate fluctuations. However, DNA sequence variation at two rapidly evolving unlinked nuclear loci, Mannose phosphate isomerase (Mpi) and Triose phosphate isomerase (Tpi), show that the comimetic species have quite different quaternary demographies. In H. erato, despite ongoing lineage sorting across the Andes, nuclear genealogical estimates showed little geographical structure, suggesting high historical gene flow. Coalescent-based demographic analysis revealed population growth since the Pliocene period. Although these patterns suggest vicariant population subdivision associated with the Andean orogeny, they are not consistent with hypotheses of Pleistocene population fragmentation facilitating allopatric wing phenotype radiation in H. erato. In contrast, nuclear genetic diversity, theta, in H. melpomene was reduced relative to its comimic and revealed three phylogeographical clades. The pattern of coalescent events within regional clades was most consistent with population growth in relatively isolated populations after a recent period of restricted population size. These different demographic histories suggest that the wing-pattern radiations were not coincident in the two species. Instead, larger effective population size (N(e)) in H. erato, together with profound population change in H. melpomene, supports an earlier hypothesis that H. erato diversified first as the model species of this remarkable mimetic association.
Project description:Sex chromosomes have different evolutionary properties compared to autosomes due to their hemizygous nature. In particular, recessive mutations are more readily exposed to selection, which can lead to faster rates of molecular evolution. Here, we report patterns of gene expression and molecular evolution for a group of butterflies. First, we improve the completeness of the Heliconius melpomene reference annotation, a neotropical butterfly with a ZW sex determination system. Then, we analyse RNA from male and female whole abdomens and sequence female ovary and gut tissue to identify sex- and tissue-specific gene expression profiles in H. melpomene. Using these expression profiles, we compare (a) sequence divergence and polymorphism; (b) the strength of positive and negative selection; and (c) rates of adaptive evolution, for Z and autosomal genes between two species of Heliconius butterflies, H. melpomene and H. erato. We show that the rate of adaptive substitutions is higher for Z than autosomal genes, but contrary to expectation, it is also higher for male-biased than female-biased genes. Additionally, we find no significant increase in the rate of adaptive evolution or purifying selection on genes expressed in ovary tissue, a heterogametic-specific tissue. Our results contribute to a growing body of literature from other ZW systems that also provide mixed evidence for a fast-Z effect where hemizygosity influences the rate of adaptive substitutions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:A key to understanding the origins of species is determining the evolutionary processes that drive the patterns of genomic divergence during speciation. New genomic technologies enable the study of high-resolution genomic patterns of divergence across natural speciation continua, where taxa pairs with different levels of reproductive isolation can be used as proxies for different stages of speciation. Empirical studies of these speciation continua can provide valuable insights into how genomes diverge during speciation. METHODS:We examine variation across a handful of genomic regions in parapatric and allopatric populations of Heliconius butterflies with varying levels of reproductive isolation. Genome sequences were mapped to 2.2-Mb of the H. erato genome, including 1-Mb across the red color pattern locus and multiple regions unlinked to color pattern variation. RESULTS:Phylogenetic analyses reveal a speciation continuum of pairs of hybridizing races and incipient species in the Heliconius erato clade. Comparisons of hybridizing pairs of divergently colored races and incipient species reveal that genomic divergence increases with ecological and reproductive isolation, not only across the locus responsible for adaptive variation in red wing coloration, but also at genomic regions unlinked to color pattern. DISCUSSION:We observe high levels of divergence between the incipient species H. erato and H. himera, suggesting that divergence may accumulate early in the speciation process. Comparisons of genomic divergence between the incipient species and allopatric races suggest that limited gene flow cannot account for the observed high levels of divergence between the incipient species. CONCLUSIONS:Our results provide a reconstruction of the speciation continuum across the H. erato clade and provide insights into the processes that drive genomic divergence during speciation, establishing the H. erato clade as a powerful framework for the study of speciation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cryptic population structure can be an indicator of incipient speciation or historical processes. We investigated a previously documented deep break in the mitochondrial haplotypes of Heliconius erato chestertonii to explore the possibility of cryptic speciation, and also the possible presence of endosymbiont bacteria that might drive mitochondrial population structure. RESULTS:Among a sample of 315 individuals from 16 populations of western Colombia, two principal mtDNA clades were detected with 2.15% divergence and we confirmed this structure was weakly associated with geography. The first mtDNA clade included 87% of individuals from northern populations and was the sister group of H. erato members of Andes western, while the second clade contained most individuals from southern populations (78%), which shared haplotypes with an Ecuadorian race of H. erato. In contrast, analysis using AFLP markers showed H. e. chestertonii to be a genetically homogeneous species with no association between mitochondrial divergence and AFLP structure. The lack of congruence between molecular markers suggests that cryptic speciation is not a plausible explanation for the deep mitochondrial divergence in H. e chestertonii. We also carried out the first tests for the presence of endosymbiontic bacteria in Heliconius, and identified two distinct lineages of Wolbachia within H. e. chestertonii. However, neither of the principal mitochondrial clades of H. e. chestertonii was directly associated with the patterns of infection. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that historical demographic processes are the most likely explanation for the high mitochondrial differentiation in H. e. chestertonii, perhaps due to gene flow between Cauca valley H. e. chestertonii and west Pacific slope populations of H. erato.
Project description:We report a dense genetic linkage map of Heliconius erato, a neotropical butterfly that has undergone a remarkable adaptive radiation in warningly colored mimetic wing patterns. Our study exploited natural variation segregating in a cross between H. erato etylus and H. himera to localize wing color pattern loci on a dense linkage map containing amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP), microsatellites, and single-copy nuclear loci. We unambiguously identified all 20 autosomal linkage groups and the sex chromosome (Z). The map spanned a total of 1430 Haldane cM and linkage groups varied in size from 26.3 to 97.8 cM. The average distance between markers was 5.1 cM. Within this framework, we localized two major color pattern loci to narrow regions of the genome. The first gene, D, responsible for red/orange elements, had a most likely placement in a 6.7-cM region flanked by two AFLP markers on the end of a large 87.5-cM linkage group. The second locus, Sd, affects the melanic pattern on the forewing and was found within a 6.3-cM interval between flanking AFLP loci. This study complements recent linkage analysis of H. erato's comimic, H. melpomene, and forms the basis for marker-assisted physical mapping and for studies into the comparative genetic architecture of wing-pattern mimicry in Heliconius.
Project description:Identifying the genetic changes driving adaptive variation in natural populations is key to understanding the origins of biodiversity. The mosaic of mimetic wing patterns in Heliconius butterflies makes an excellent system for exploring adaptive variation using next-generation sequencing. In this study, we use a combination of techniques to annotate the genomic interval modulating red color pattern variation, identify a narrow region responsible for adaptive divergence and convergence in Heliconius wing color patterns, and explore the evolutionary history of these adaptive alleles. We use whole genome resequencing from four hybrid zones between divergent color pattern races of Heliconius erato and two hybrid zones of the co-mimic Heliconius melpomene to examine genetic variation across 2.2 Mb of a partial reference sequence. In the intergenic region near optix, the gene previously shown to be responsible for the complex red pattern variation in Heliconius, population genetic analyses identify a shared 65-kb region of divergence that includes several sites perfectly associated with phenotype within each species. This region likely contains multiple cis-regulatory elements that control discrete expression domains of optix. The parallel signatures of genetic differentiation in H. erato and H. melpomene support a shared genetic architecture between the two distantly related co-mimics; however, phylogenetic analysis suggests mimetic patterns in each species evolved independently. Using a combination of next-generation sequencing analyses, we have refined our understanding of the genetic architecture of wing pattern variation in Heliconius and gained important insights into the evolution of novel adaptive phenotypes in natural populations.
Project description:The unpalatable and warning-patterned butterflies Heliconius erato and Heliconius melpomene provide the best studied example of mutualistic Müllerian mimicry, thought-but rarely demonstrated-to promote coevolution. Some of the strongest available evidence for coevolution comes from phylogenetic codivergence, the parallel divergence of ecologically associated lineages. Early evolutionary reconstructions suggested codivergence between mimetic populations of H. erato and H. melpomene, and this was initially hailed as one of the most striking known cases of coevolution. However, subsequent molecular phylogenetic analyses found discrepancies in phylogenetic branching patterns and timing (topological and temporal incongruence) that argued against codivergence. We present the first explicit cophylogenetic test of codivergence between mimetic populations of H. erato and H. melpomene, and re-examine the timing of these radiations. We find statistically significant topological congruence between multilocus coalescent population phylogenies of H. erato and H. melpomene. Cophylogenetic historical reconstructions support repeated codivergence of mimetic populations, from the base of the sampled radiations. Pairwise distance correlation tests, based on our coalescent analyses plus recently published AFLP and wing colour pattern gene data, also suggest that the phylogenies of H. erato and H. melpomene show significant topological congruence. Divergence time estimates, based on a Bayesian coalescent model, suggest that the evolutionary radiations of H. erato and H. melpomene occurred over the same time period, and are compatible with a series of temporally congruent codivergence events. Our results suggest that differences in within-species genetic divergence are the result of a greater overall effective population size for H. erato relative to H. melpomene and do not imply incongruence in the timing of their phylogenetic radiations. Repeated codivergence between Müllerian co-mimics, predicted to exert mutual selection pressures, strongly suggests coevolution. Our results therefore support a history of reciprocal coevolution between Müllerian co-mimics characterised by phylogenetic codivergence and parallel phenotypic change.
Project description:Recent studies indicate that relatively few genomic regions are repeatedly involved in the evolution of Heliconius butterfly wing patterns. Although this work demonstrates a number of cases where homologous loci underlie both convergent and divergent wing pattern change among different Heliconius species, it is still unclear exactly how many loci underlie pattern variation across the genus. To address this question for Heliconius erato, we created fifteen independent crosses utilizing the four most distinct color pattern races and analyzed color pattern segregation across a total of 1271 F2 and backcross offspring. Additionally, we used the most variable brood, an F2 cross between H. himera and the east Ecuadorian H. erato notabilis, to perform a quantitative genetic analysis of color pattern variation and produce a detailed map of the loci likely involved in the H. erato color pattern radiation. Using AFLP and gene based markers, we show that fewer major genes than previously envisioned control the color pattern variation in H. erato. We describe for the first time the genetic architecture of H. erato wing color pattern by assessing quantitative variation in addition to traditional linkage mapping. In particular, our data suggest three genomic intervals modulate the bulk of the observed variation in color. Furthermore, we also identify several modifier loci of moderate effect size that contribute to the quantitative wing pattern variation. Our results are consistent with the two-step model for the evolution of mimetic wing patterns in Heliconius and support a growing body of empirical data demonstrating the importance of major effect loci in adaptive change.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Brazil's Atlantic Forest is a biodiversity hotspot endangered by severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation is expected to reduce dispersal among habitat patches resulting in increased genetic differentiation among populations. Here we examined genetic diversity and differentiation among populations of two Heliconius butterfly species in the northern portion of Brazil's Atlantic Forest to estimate the potential impact of habitat fragmentation on population connectivity in butterflies with home-range behavior. RESULTS:We generated microsatellite, AFLP and mtDNA sequence data for 136 Heliconius erato specimens from eight collecting locations and 146 H. melpomene specimens from seven locations. Population genetic analyses of the data revealed high levels of genetic diversity in H. erato relative to H. melpomene, widespread genetic differentiation among populations of both species, and no evidence for isolation-by-distance. CONCLUSIONS:These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the extensive habitat fragmentation along Brazil's Atlantic Forest has reduced dispersal of Heliconius butterflies among neighboring habitat patches. The results also lend support to the observation that fine-scale population genetic structure may be common in Heliconius. If such population structure also exists independent of human activity, and has been common over the evolutionary history of Heliconius butterflies, it may have contributed to the evolution of wing pattern diversity in the genus.