Evolution of Mutation Rate in Astronomically Large Phytoplankton Populations.
ABSTRACT: Genetic diversity is expected to be proportional to population size, yet, there is a well-known, but unexplained lack of genetic diversity in large populations-the "Lewontin's paradox." Larger populations are expected to evolve lower mutation rates, which may help to explain this paradox. Here, we test this conjecture by measuring the spontaneous mutation rate in a ubiquitous unicellular marine phytoplankton species Emiliania huxleyi (Haptophyta) that has modest genetic diversity despite an astronomically large population size. Genome sequencing of E. huxleyi mutation accumulation lines revealed 455 mutations, with an unusual GC-biased mutation spectrum. This yielded an estimate of the per site mutation rate µ = 5.55×10-10 (CI 95%: 5.05×10-10 - 6.09×10-10), which corresponds to an effective population size Ne ? 2.7×106. Such a modest Ne is surprising for a ubiquitous and abundant species that accounts for up to 10% of global primary productivity in the oceans. Our results indicate that even exceptionally large populations do not evolve mutation rates lower than ?10-10 per nucleotide per cell division. Consequently, the extreme disparity between modest genetic diversity and astronomically large population size in the plankton species cannot be explained by an unusually low mutation rate.
Project description:Codon usage bias (CUB)-preferential use of one of the synonymous codons, has been described in a wide range of organisms from bacteria to mammals, but it has not yet been studied in marine phytoplankton. CUB is thought to be caused by weak selection for translational accuracy and efficiency. Weak selection can overpower genetic drift only in species with large effective population sizes, such as Drosophila that has relatively strong CUB, while organisms with smaller population sizes (e.g., mammals) have weak CUB. Marine plankton species tend to have extremely large populations, suggesting that CUB should be very strong. Here we test this prediction and describe the patterns of codon usage in a wide range of diatom species belonging to 35 genera from 4 classes. We report that most of the diatom species studied have surprisingly modest CUB (mean Effective Number of Codons, ENC = 56), with some exceptions showing stronger codon bias (ENC = 44). Modest codon bias in most studied diatom species may reflect extreme disparity between astronomically large census and modest effective population size (Ne), with fluctuations in population size and linked selection limiting long-term Ne and rendering selection for optimal codons less efficient. For example, genetic diversity (pi ~0.02 at silent sites) in Skeletonema marinoi corresponds to Ne of about 10 million individuals, which is likely many orders of magnitude lower than its census size. Still, Ne ~107 should be large enough to make selection for optimal codons efficient. Thus, we propose that an alternative process-frequent changes of preferred codons, may be a more plausible reason for low CUB despite highly efficient selection for preferred codons in diatom populations. The shifts in the set of optimal codons should result in the changes of the direction of selection for codon usage, so the actual codon usage never catches up with the moving target of the optimal set of codons and the species never develop strong CUB. Indeed, we detected strong shifts in preferential codon usage within some diatom genera, with switches between preferentially GC-rich and AT-rich 3rd codon positions (GC3). For example, GC3 ranges from 0.6 to 1 in most Chaetoceros species, while for Chaetoceros dichaeta GC3 = 0.1. Both variation in selection intensity and mutation spectrum may drive such shifts in codon usage and limit the observed CUB. Our study represents the first genome-wide analysis of CUB in diatoms and the first such analysis for a major phytoplankton group.
Project description:Mutation rate and effective population size (Ne) jointly determine intraspecific genetic diversity, but the role of mutation rate is often ignored. Here we investigate genetic diversity, spontaneous mutation rate and Ne in the giant duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza). Despite its large census population size, whole-genome sequencing of 68 globally sampled individuals reveals extremely low intraspecific genetic diversity. Assessed under natural conditions, the genome-wide spontaneous mutation rate is at least seven times lower than estimates made for other multicellular eukaryotes, whereas Ne is large. These results demonstrate that low genetic diversity can be associated with large-Ne species, where selection can reduce mutation rates to very low levels. This study also highlights that accurate estimates of mutation rate can help to explain seemingly unexpected patterns of genome-wide variation.
Project description:Free-living bacteria are usually thought to have large effective population sizes, and so tiny selective differences can drive their evolution. However, because recombination is infrequent, "background selection" against slightly deleterious alleles should reduce the effective population size (Ne) by orders of magnitude. For example, for a well-mixed population with 10(12) individuals and a typical level of homologous recombination (r/m = 3, i.e., nucleotide changes due to recombination [r] occur at 3 times the mutation rate [m]), we predict that Ne is <10(7). An argument for high Ne values for bacteria has been the high genetic diversity within many bacterial "species," but this diversity may be due to population structure: diversity across subpopulations can be far higher than diversity within a subpopulation, which makes it difficult to estimate Ne correctly. Given an estimate of Ne, standard population genetics models imply that selection should be sufficient to drive evolution if Ne × s is >1, where s is the selection coefficient. We found that this remains approximately correct if background selection is occurring or when population structure is present. Overall, we predict that even for free-living bacteria with enormous populations, natural selection is only a significant force if s is above 10(-7) or so.Because bacteria form huge populations with trillions of individuals, the simplest theoretical prediction is that the better allele at a site would predominate even if its advantage was just 10(-9) per generation. In other words, virtually every nucleotide would be at the local optimum in most individuals. A more sophisticated theory considers that bacterial genomes have millions of sites each and selection events on these many sites could interfere with each other, so that only larger effects would be important. However, bacteria can exchange genetic material, and in principle, this exchange could eliminate the interference between the evolution of the sites. We used simulations to confirm that during multisite evolution with realistic levels of recombination, only larger effects are important. We propose that advantages of less than 10(-7) are effectively neutral.
Project description:Mutations contribute to genetic variation in all living systems. Thus, precise estimates of mutation rates and spectra across a diversity of organisms are required for a full comprehension of evolution. Here, a mutation-accumulation (MA) assay was carried out on the endosymbiotic bacterium Teredinibacter turnerae. After ?3,025 generations, base-pair substitutions (BPSs) and insertion-deletion (indel) events were characterized by whole-genome sequencing analysis of 47 independent MA lines, yielding a BPS rate of 1.14?×?10-9 per site per generation and indel rate of 1.55?×?10-10 events per site per generation, which are among the highest within free-living and facultative intracellular bacteria. As in other endosymbionts, a significant bias of BPSs toward A/T and an excess of deletion mutations over insertion mutations are observed for these MA lines. However, even with a deletion bias, the genome remains relatively large (?5.2?Mb) for an endosymbiotic bacterium. The estimate of the effective population size (Ne) in T. turnerae is quite high and comparable to free-living bacteria (?4.5?×?107), suggesting that the heavy bottlenecking associated with many endosymbiotic relationships is not prevalent during the life of this endosymbiont. The efficiency of selection scales with increasing Ne and such strong selection may have been operating against the deletion bias, preventing genome erosion. The observed mutation rate in this endosymbiont is of the same order of magnitude of those with similar Ne, consistent with the idea that population size is a primary determinant of mutation-rate evolution within endosymbionts, and that not all endosymbionts have low Ne.
Project description:Whether adaptation is limited by the beneficial mutation supply is a long-standing question of evolutionary genetics, which is more generally related to the determination of the adaptive substitution rate and its relationship with species effective population size (Ne) and genetic diversity. Empirical evidence reported so far is equivocal, with some but not all studies supporting a higher adaptive substitution rate in large-Ne than in small-Ne species. We gathered coding sequence polymorphism data and estimated the adaptive amino-acid substitution rate ?a, in 50 species from ten distant groups of animals with markedly different population mutation rate ?. We reveal the existence of a complex, timescale dependent relationship between species adaptive substitution rate and genetic diversity. We find a positive relationship between ?a and ? among closely related species, indicating that adaptation is indeed limited by the mutation supply, but this was only true in relatively low-? taxa. In contrast, we uncover no significant correlation between ?a and ? at a larger taxonomic scale, suggesting that the proportion of beneficial mutations scales negatively with species' long-term Ne.
Project description:The brown alga Fucus serratus is a key foundation species on rocky intertidal shores of northern Europe. We sampled the same population off the coast of southern Norway in 2000 and 2008, and using 26 microsatellite loci, we estimated the changes in genetic diversity and effective population size (Ne). The unexpectedly low Ne (73-386) and Ne/N ratio (10-3-10-4), in combination with a significant decrease (14%) in allelic richness over the 8-year period, suggests an increased local extinction risk. If small Ne proves to be a common feature of F. serratus, then being abundant may not be enough for the species to weather future environmental changes.
Project description:Objective:The genetic diversity of the Landrace population, a representative maternal pig breed in Korea, is important for genetic improvement. Previously, the effective population size (Ne) has been used to infer the genetic diversity of a population of interest. In this study, we aimed to use single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data to characterize linkage disequilibrium (LD) and the Ne of the Korean Landrace population. METHODS:We genotyped 1,128 Landrace individuals from three representative Korean major grand-grand-parent (GGP) farms using the Illumina PorcineSNP60 version2 BeadChip, which covers >61,565 SNPs located across all autosomes and mitochondrial and sex chromosomes. We estimated the expected LD and current Ne, as well as ancestral Ne. RESULTS:In the Korean Landrace population, the mean LD (r2) of 3.698 million SNP pairs was 0.135±0.204. The mean r2 decreased slowly with as the distance between SNPs increased, and remained constant beyond 3 Mb. According to the r2 calculations, 8,085 of 3.698 million SNP pairs were in complete LD. The current Ne (±standard deviation) of the Korean Landrace population is approximately 92.27 [79.46; 105.07] individuals. The ancestral Ne exhibited a slow and steady decline from 186.61 to 92.27 over the past 100 generations. Additionally, we observed more a rapid Ne decrease from the past 20 to 10 generations ago, compared with other intervals. CONCLUSION:We have presented an overview of LD and the current and ancestral Ne values in the Korean Landrace population. The mean LD and current Ne for the Korean Landrace population confirm the genetic diversity and reflect the history of this pig population in Korea.
Project description:Under the neutral theory, species with larger effective population size are expected to harbor higher genetic diversity. However, across a wide variety of organisms, the range of genetic diversity is orders of magnitude more narrow than the range of effective population size. This observation has become known as Lewontin's paradox and although aspects of this phenomenon have been extensively studied, the underlying causes for the paradox remain unclear. Norway spruce (Picea abies) is a widely distributed conifer species across the northern hemisphere, and it consequently plays a major role in European forestry. Here, we use whole-genome resequencing data from 35 individuals to perform population genomic analyses in P. abies in an effort to understand what drives genome-wide patterns of variation in this species. Despite having a very wide geographic distribution and an corresponding enormous current population size, our analyses find that genetic diversity of P. abies is low across a number of populations (??=?0.0049 in Central-Europe, ??=?0.0063 in Sweden-Norway, ??=?0.0063 in Finland). To assess the reasons for the low levels of genetic diversity, we infer the demographic history of the species and find that it is characterized by several reoccurring bottlenecks with concomitant decreases in effective population size can, at least partly, provide an explanation for low polymorphism we observe in P. abies. Further analyses suggest that recurrent natural selection, both purifying and positive selection, can also contribute to the loss of genetic diversity in Norway spruce by reducing genetic diversity at linked sites. Finally, the overall low mutation rates seen in conifers can also help explain the low genetic diversity maintained in Norway spruce.
Project description:We report the presence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hyperdiversity in the marine periwinkle Melarhaphe neritoides (Linnaeus, 1758), the first such case among marine gastropods. Our dataset consisted of concatenated 16S-COI-Cytb gene fragments. We used Bayesian analyses to investigate three putative causes underlying genetic variation, and estimated the mtDNA mutation rate, possible signatures of selection and the effective population size of the species in the Azores archipelago. The mtDNA hyperdiversity in M. neritoides is characterized by extremely high haplotype diversity (Hd = 0.999 ± 0.001), high nucleotide diversity (? = 0.013 ± 0.001), and neutral nucleotide diversity above the threshold of 5% (?syn = 0.0677). Haplotype richness is very high even at spatial scales as small as 100m2. Yet, mtDNA hyperdiversity does not affect the ability of DNA barcoding to identify M. neritoides. The mtDNA hyperdiversity in M. neritoides is best explained by the remarkably high mutation rate at the COI locus (? = 5.82 × 10-5 per site per year or ? = 1.99 × 10-4 mutations per nucleotide site per generation), whereas the effective population size of this planktonic-dispersing species is surprisingly small (Ne = 5, 256; CI = 1,312-3,7495) probably due to the putative influence of selection. Comparison with COI nucleotide diversity values in other organisms suggests that mtDNA hyperdiversity may be more frequently linked to high ? values and that mtDNA hyperdiversity may be more common across other phyla than currently appreciated.
Project description:Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis was used as a molecular tool to determine the diversity and to monitor population dynamics of viruses that infect the globally important coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi. We exploited variations in the major capsid protein gene from E. huxleyi-specific viruses to monitor their genetic diversity during an E. huxleyi bloom in a mesocosm experiment off western Norway. We reveal that, despite the presence of several virus genotypes at the start of an E. huxleyi bloom, only a few virus genotypes eventually go on to kill the bloom.