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Title: Rapid polygenic selection generates fine spatial structure among ecological niches in a well-mixed population
Evolution by natural selection may be effective enough to allow for recurrent, rapid adaptation to distinct niche environments within a well-mixed population. For this to occur, selection must act on standing genetic variation such that mortality i.e. genetic load, is minimized while polymorphism is maintained. Selection on multiple, redundant loci of small effect provides a potentially inexpensive solution. Yet, demonstrating adaptation via redundant, polygenic selection in the wild remains extremely challenging because low per-locus effect sizes and high genetic redundancy severely reduce statistical power. One approach to facilitate identification of loci underlying polygenic selection is to harness natural replicate populations experiencing similar selection pressures that harbor high within-, yet negligible among-population genetic variation. Such populations can be found among the teleost Fundulus heteroclitus. F. heteroclitus inhabits salt marsh estuaries that are characterized by high environmental heterogeneity e.g. tidal ponds, creeks, coastal basins. Here, we sample four of these heterogeneous niches (one coastal basin and three replicate tidal ponds) at two time points from among a single, panmictic F. heteroclitus population. We identify 10,861 single nucleotide polymorphisms using a genotyping-by-sequencing approach and quantify temporal allele frequency change within, as well as spatial divergence among subpopulations residing in these niches. We find more » a significantly elevated number of concordant allele frequency changes among all subpopulations, suggesting ecosystem-wide adaptation to a common selection pressure. Remarkably, we also find an unexpected number of temporal allele frequency changes that generate fine-scale divergence among subpopulations, suggestive of local adaptation to distinct niche environments. Both patterns are characterized by a lack of large-effect loci yet an elevated total number of significant loci. Adaptation via redundant, polygenic selection offers a likely explanation for these patterns as well as a potential mechanism for polymorphism maintenance in the F. heteroclitus system. « less
Award ID(s):
1754437 1556396
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
PLOS genetics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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