skip to main content

Title: Pervasive Genomic Signatures of Local Adaptation to Altitude Across Highland Specialist Andean Hummingbird Populations
Abstract Populations along steep environmental gradients are subject to differentiating selection that can result in local adaptation, despite countervailing gene flow, and genetic drift. In montane systems, where species are often restricted to narrow ranges of elevation, it is unclear whether the selection is strong enough to influence functional differentiation of subpopulations differing by a few hundred meters in elevation. We used targeted capture of 12 501 exons from across the genome, including 271 genes previously implicated in altitude adaptation, to test for adaptation to local elevations for 2 highland hummingbird species, Coeligena violifer (n = 62) and Colibri coruscans (n = 101). For each species, we described population genetic structure across the complex geography of the Peruvian Andes and, while accounting for this structure, we tested whether elevational allele frequency clines in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showed evidence for local adaptation to elevation. Although the 2 species exhibited contrasting population genetic structures, we found signatures of clinal genetic variation with shifts in elevation in both. The genes with SNP-elevation associations included candidate genes previously discovered for high-elevation adaptation as well as others not previously identified, with cellular functions related to hypoxia response, energy metabolism, and immune function, among others. more » Despite the homogenizing effects of gene flow and genetic drift, natural selection on parts of the genome evidently optimizes elevation-specific cellular function even within elevation range-restricted montane populations. Consequently, our results suggest local adaptation occurring in narrow elevation bands in tropical mountains, such as the Andes, may effectively make them “taller” biogeographic barriers. « less
; ; ; ;
Chapman, Mark
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Heredity
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
229 to 240
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Sage-grouse are two closely related iconic species of the North American West, with historically broad distributions across sagebrush-steppe habitat. Both species are dietary specialists on sagebrush during winter, with presumed adaptations to tolerate the high concentrations of toxic secondary metabolites that function as plant chemical defenses. Marked range contraction and declining population sizes since European settlement have motivated efforts to identify distinct population genetic variation, particularly that which might be associated with local genetic adaptation and dietary specialization of sage-grouse. We assembled a reference genome and performed whole-genome sequencing across sage-grouse from six populations, encompassing both species and including several populations on the periphery of the species ranges. Population genomic analyses reaffirmed genome-wide differentiation between greater and Gunnison sage-grouse, revealed pronounced intraspecific population structure, and highlighted important differentiation of a small isolated population of greater sage-grouse in the northwest of the range. Patterns of genome-wide differentiation were largely consistent with a hypothesized role of genetic drift due to limited gene flow among populations. Inferred ancient population demography suggested persistent declines in effective population sizes that have likely contributed to differentiation within and among species. Several genomic regions with single-nucleotide polymorphisms exhibiting extreme population differentiation were associated with candidate genesmore »linked to metabolism of xenobiotic compounds. In vitro activity of enzymes isolated from sage-grouse livers supported a role for these genes in detoxification of sagebrush, suggesting that the observed interpopulation variation may underlie important local dietary adaptations, warranting close consideration for conservation strategies that link sage-grouse to the chemistry of local sagebrush.« less
  2. The ways in which genetic variation is distributed within and among populations is a key determinant of the evolutionary features of a species. However, most comprehensive studies of these features have been restricted to studies of subdivision in settings known to have been driven by local adaptation, leaving our understanding of the natural dispersion of allelic variation less than ideal. Here, we present a geographic population-genomic analysis of 10 populations of the freshwater microcrustacean Daphnia pulex, an emerging model system in evolutionary genomics. These populations exhibit a pattern of moderate isolation-by-distance, with an average migration rate of 0.6 individuals per generation, and average effective population sizes of ∼650,000 individuals. Most populations contain numerous private alleles, and genomic scans highlight the presence of islands of excessively high population subdivision for more common alleles. A large fraction of such islands of population divergence likely reflect historical neutral changes, including rare stochastic migration and hybridization events. The data do point to local adaptive divergence, although the precise nature of the relevant variation is diffuse and cannot be associated with particular loci, despite the very large sample sizes involved in this study. In contrast, an analysis of between-species divergence highlights positive selection operating onmore »a large set of genes with functions nearly nonoverlapping with those involved in local adaptation, in particular ribosome structure, mitochondrial bioenergetics, light reception and response, detoxification, and gene regulation. These results set the stage for using D. pulex as a model for understanding the relationship between molecular and cellular evolution in the context of natural environments.« less
  3. Understanding how evolutionary forces interact to drive patterns of selection and distribute genetic variation across a species' range is of great interest in ecology and evolution, especially in an era of global change. While theory predicts how and when populations at range margins are likely to undergo local adaptation, empirical evidence testing these models remains sparse. Here, we address this knowledge gap by investigating the relationship between selection, gene flow and genetic drift in the yellowtail clownfish, Amphiprion clarkii, from the core to the northern periphery of the species range. Analyses reveal low genetic diversity at the range edge, gene flow from the core to the edge and genomic signatures of local adaptation at 56 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 25 candidate genes, most of which are significantly correlated with minimum annual sea surface temperature. Several of these candidate genes play a role in functions that are upregulated during cold stress, including protein turnover, metabolism and translation. Our results illustrate how spatially divergent selection spanning the range core to the periphery can occur despite the potential for strong genetic drift at the range edge and moderate gene flow from the core populations.
  4. Smith, Stephen (Ed.)
    Abstract Understanding how gene flow affects population divergence and speciation remains challenging. Differentiating one evolutionary process from another can be difficult because multiple processes can produce similar patterns, and more than one process can occur simultaneously. Although simple population models produce predictable results, how these processes balance in taxa with patchy distributions and complicated natural histories is less certain. These types of populations might be highly connected through migration (gene flow), but can experience stronger effects of genetic drift and inbreeding, or localized selection. Although different signals can be difficult to separate, the application of high-throughput sequence data can provide the resolution necessary to distinguish many of these processes. We present whole-genome sequence data for an avian species group with an alpine and arctic tundra distribution to examine the role that different population genetic processes have played in their evolutionary history. Rosy-finches inhabit high elevation mountaintop sky islands and high-latitude island and continental tundra. They exhibit extensive plumage variation coupled with low levels of genetic variation. Additionally, the number of species within the complex is debated, making them excellent for studying the forces involved in the process of diversification, as well as an important species group in which to investigatemore »species boundaries. Total genomic variation suggests a broadly continuous pattern of allele frequency changes across the mainland taxa of this group in North America. However, phylogenomic analyses recover multiple distinct, well supported, groups that coincide with previously described morphological variation and current species-level taxonomy. Tests of introgression using D-statistics and approximate Bayesian computation reveal significant levels of introgression between multiple North American taxa. These results provide insight into the balance between divergent and homogenizing population genetic processes and highlight remaining challenges in interpreting conflict between different types of analytical approaches with whole-genome sequence data. [ABBA-BABA; approximate Bayesian computation; gene flow; phylogenomics; speciation; whole-genome sequencing.]« less
  5. Ware, Jessica (Ed.)
    Abstract Broadly distributed species experience divergent abiotic conditions across their ranges that may drive local adaptation. Montane systems where populations are distributed across both latitudinal and elevational gradients are especially likely to produce local adaptation due to spatial variation in multiple abiotic factors, including temperature, oxygen availability, and air density. We use whole-genome resequencing to evaluate the landscape genomics of Bombus vancouverensis Cresson (Hymenoptera: Apidae), a common montane bumble bee that is distributed throughout the western part of North America. Combined statistical approaches revealed several large windows of outlier SNPs with unusual levels of differentiation across the region and indicated that isothermality and elevation were the environmental features most strongly associated with these variants. Genes found within these regions had diverse biological functions, but included neuromuscular function, ion homeostasis, oxidative stress, and hypoxia that could be associated with tolerance of temperature, desiccation, or high elevation conditions. The whole-genome sequencing approach revealed outliers occurred in genome regions with elevated linkage disequilibrium, elevated mean FST, and low intrapopulation nucleotide diversity. Other kinds of structural variations were not widely associated with environmental predictors but did broadly match geographic separation. Results are consistent with other studies suggesting that regions of low recombination may harbormore »adaptive variation in bumble bees within as well as between species and refine our understanding of candidate genes that could be further investigated as possible targets of selection across the B. vancouverensis range.« less