skip to main content

Title: Genome-wide parallelism underlies contemporary adaptation in urban lizards
Urbanization drastically transforms landscapes, resulting in fragmentation, degradation, and the loss of local biodiversity. Yet, urban environments also offer opportunities to observe rapid evolutionary change in wild populations that survive and even thrive in these novel habitats. In many ways, cities represent replicated “natural experiments” in which geographically separated populations adaptively respond to similar selection pressures over rapid evolutionary timescales. Little is known, however, about the genetic basis of adaptive phenotypic differentiation in urban populations nor the extent to which phenotypic parallelism is reflected at the genomic level with signatures of parallel selection. Here, we analyzed the genomic underpinnings of parallel urban-associated phenotypic change in Anolis cristatellus , a small-bodied neotropical lizard found abundantly in both urbanized and forested environments. We show that phenotypic parallelism in response to parallel urban environmental change is underlain by genomic parallelism and identify candidate loci across the Anolis genome associated with this adaptive morphological divergence. Our findings point to polygenic selection on standing genetic variation as a key process to effectuate rapid morphological adaptation. Identified candidate loci represent several functions associated with skeletomuscular development, morphology, and human disease. Taken together, these results shed light on the genomic basis of complex morphological adaptations, provide insight into the role of contingency and determinism in adaptation to novel environments, and underscore the value of urban environments to address fundamental evolutionary questions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1701706 1927194
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Despite extensive research on agricultural pests, our knowledge about their evolutionary history is often limited. A mechanistic understanding of the demographic changes and modes of adaptation remains an important goal, as it improves our understanding of organismal responses to environmental change and our ability to sustainably manage pest populations. Emerging genomic datasets now allow for characterization of demographic and adaptive processes, but face limits when they are drawn from contemporary samples, especially in the context of strong demographic change, repeated selection, or adaptation involving modest shifts in allele frequency at many loci. Temporal sampling, however, can improve our ability to reconstruct evolutionary events. Here, we leverage museum samples to examine whether population genomic diversity and structure has changed over time, and to identify genomic regions that appear to be under selection. We focus on the Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say 1824; Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), which is widely regarded as a super-pest due to its rapid, and repeated, evolution to insecticides. By combining whole genome resequencing data from 78 museum samples with modern sampling, we demonstrate that CPB expanded rapidly in the 19th century, leading to a reduction in diversity and limited genetic structure from the Midwest to Northeast United States. Temporal genome scans provide extensive evidence for selection acting in resistant field populations in Wisconsin and New York, including numerous known insecticide resistance genes. We also validate these results by showing that known selective sweeps in modern populations are identified by our genome scan. Perhaps most importantly, temporal analysis indicates selection on standing genetic variation, as we find evidence for parallel evolution in the two geographical regions. Parallel evolution involves a range of phenotypic traits not previously identified as under selection in CPB, such as reproductive and morphological functional pathways that might be important for adaptation to agricultural habitats.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Identifying areas of high evolutionary potential is a judicious strategy for developing conservation priorities in the face of environmental change. For wide‐ranging species occupying heterogeneous environments, the evolutionary forces that shape distinct populations can vary spatially. Here, we investigate patterns of genomic variation and genotype–environment associations in the hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus), a North American songbird, at broad (across the breeding range) and narrow spatial scales (at a hybrid zone). We begin by building a genoscape or map of genetic variation across the breeding range and find five distinct genetic clusters within the species, with the greatest variation occurring in the western portion of the range. Genotype–environment association analyses indicate higher allelic turnover in the west than in the east, with measures of temperature surfacing as key predictors of putative adaptive genomic variation rangewide. Since broad patterns detected across a species' range represent the aggregate of many locally adapted populations, we investigate whether our broadscale analysis is consistent with a finer scale analysis. We find that top rangewide temperature‐associated loci vary in their clinal patterns (e.g., steep clines vs. fixed allele frequencies) across a hybrid zone in British Columbia, suggesting that the environmental predictors and the associated candidate loci identified in the rangewide analysis are of variable importance in this particular region. However, two candidate loci exhibit strong concordance with the temperature gradient in British Columbia, suggesting a potential role for temperature‐related barriers to gene flow and/or temperature‐driven ecological selection in maintaining putative local adaptation. This study demonstrates how patterns identified at the broad (macrogeographic) scale can be validated by investigating genotype–environment correlations at the local (microgeographic) scale. Furthermore, our results highlight the importance of considering the spatial distribution of putative adaptive variation when assessing population‐level sensitivity to climate change and other stressors.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Understanding the molecular basis of repeated evolution improves our ability to predict evolution across the tree of life. Only since the last decade has high‐throughput sequencing enabled comparative genome scans to thoroughly examine the repeatability of genetic changes driving repeated phenotypic evolution. The Asian corn borer (ACB),Ostrinia furnacalis(Guenée), and the European corn borer (ECB),Ostrinia nubilalis(Hübner), are two closely related moths displaying repeatable phenological adaptation to a wide range of climates on two separate continents, largely manifesting as changes in the timing of diapause induction and termination across latitude. Candidate genes underlying diapause variation in North American ECB have been previously identified. Here, we sampled seven ACB populations across 23 degrees of latitude in China to elucidate the genetic basis of diapause variation and evolutionary mechanisms driving parallel clinal responses in the two species. Using pooled whole‐genome sequencing (Pool‐seq) data, population genomic analyses revealed hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) whose allele frequencies covaried with mean diapause phenotypes along the cline. Genes involved in circadian rhythm were over‐represented among candidate genes with strong signatures of spatially varying selection. Only one of two circadian clock genes associated with diapause evolution in ECB showed evidence of reuse in ACB (period [per]), butperalleles were not shared between species nor with their outgroup, implicating independent mutational paths. Nonetheless, evidence of adaptive introgression was discovered at putative diapause loci located elsewhere in the genome, suggesting that de novo mutations and introgression might both underlie the repeated phenological evolution.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    The genetic architecture of phenotypic traits can affect the mode and tempo of trait evolution. Human‐altered environments can impose strong natural selection, where successful evolutionary adaptation requires swift and large phenotypic shifts. In these scenarios, theory predicts that adaptation is due to a few adaptive variants of large effect, but empirical studies that have revealed the genetic architecture of rapidly evolved phenotypes are rare, especially for populations inhabiting polluted environments.Funduluskillifish have repeatedly evolved adaptive resistance to extreme pollution in urban estuaries. Prior studies, including genome scans for signatures of natural selection, have revealed some of the genes and pathways important for evolved pollution resistance, and provide context for the genotype–phenotype association studies reported here. We created multiple quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping families using progenitors from four different resistant populations, and using RAD‐seq genetically mapped variation in sensitivity (developmental perturbations) following embryonic exposure to a model toxicant PCB‐126. We found that one to two large‐effect QTL loci accounted for resistance to PCB‐mediated developmental toxicity. QTLs harbored candidate genes that govern the regulation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) signaling. One QTL locus was shared across all populations and another was shared across three populations. One QTL locus showed strong signatures of recent natural selection in the corresponding wild population but another QTL locus did not. Some candidate genes for PCB resistance inferred from genome scans in wild populations were identified as QTL, but some key candidate genes were not. We conclude that rapidly evolved resistance to the developmental defects normally caused by PCB‐126 is governed by few genes of large effect. However, other aspects of resistance beyond developmental phenotypes may be governed by additional loci, such that comprehensive resistance to PCB‐126, and to the mixtures of chemicals that distinguish urban estuaries more broadly, may be more genetically complex.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Fluctuations in the strength and direction of natural selection through time are a ubiquitous feature of life on Earth. One evolutionary outcome of such fluctuations is adaptive tracking, wherein populations rapidly adapt from standing genetic variation. In certain circumstances, adaptive tracking can lead to the long-term maintenance of functional polymorphism despite allele frequency change due to selection. Although adaptive tracking is likely a common process, we still have a limited understanding of aspects of its genetic architecture and its strength relative to other evolutionary forces such as drift. Drosophila melanogaster living in temperate regions evolve to track seasonal fluctuations and are an excellent system to tackle these gaps in knowledge. By sequencing orchard populations collected across multiple years, we characterized the genomic signal of seasonal demography and identified that the cosmopolitan inversion In(2L)t facilitates seasonal adaptive tracking and shows molecular footprints of selection. A meta-analysis of phenotypic studies shows that seasonal loci within In(2L)t are associated with behavior, life history, physiology, and morphological traits. We identify candidate loci and experimentally link them to phenotype. Our work contributes to our general understanding of fluctuating selection and highlights the evolutionary outcome and dynamics of contemporary selection on inversions.

    more » « less