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  1. Abstract

    Rapid technological improvements are democratizing access to high quality, chromosome-scale genome assemblies. No longer the domain of only the most highly studied model organisms, now non-traditional and emerging model species can be genome-enabled using a combination of sequencing technologies and assembly software. Consequently, old ideas built on sparse sampling across the tree of life have recently been amended in the face of genomic data drawn from a growing number of high-quality reference genomes. Arguably the most valuable are those long-studied species for which much is already known about their biology; what many term emerging model species. Here, we report a highly complete chromosome-scale genome assembly for the brown anole,Anolis sagrei– a lizard species widely studied across a variety of disciplines and for which a high-quality reference genome was long overdue. This assembly exceeds the vast majority of existing reptile and snake genomes in contiguity (N50 = 253.6 Mb) and annotation completeness. Through the analysis of this genome and population resequence data, we examine the history of repetitive element accumulation, identify the X chromosome, and propose a hypothesis for the evolutionary history of fusions between autosomes and the X that led to the sex chromosomes ofA. sagrei.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Animal signals evolve in an ecological context. Locally adapting animal sexual signals can be especially important for initiating or reinforcing reproductive isolation during the early stages of speciation. Previous studies have demonstrated that dewlap colour inAnolislizards can be highly variable between populations in relation to both biotic and abiotic adaptive drivers at relatively large geographical scales. Here, we investigated differentiation of dewlap colouration among habitat types at a small spatial scale, within multiple islands of the West Indies, to test the hypothesis that similar local adaptive processes occur over smaller spatial scales. We explored variation in dewlap colouration in the most widespread species of anole,Anolis sagrei, across three characteristic habitats spanning the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, namely beach scrub, primary coppice forest and mangrove forest. Using reflectance spectrometry paired with supervised machine learning, we found significant differences in spectral properties of the dewlap between habitats within small islands, sometimes over very short distances. Passive divergence in dewlap phenotype associated with isolation‐by‐distance did not seem to explain our results. On the other hand, these habitat‐specific dewlap differences varied in magnitude and direction across islands, and thus, our primary test for adaptation—parallel responses across islands—was not supported. We suggest that neutral processes or selection could be involved in several ways, including sexual selection. Our results shed new light on the scale at which signal colour polymorphism can be maintained in the presence of gene flow, and the relative role of local adaptation and other processes in driving these patterns of dewlap colour variation across islands.

     
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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  4. 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. 
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  5. A simple genetic switch controls a color pattern polymorphism, and in silico modeling supports a role for cell migration. 
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  6. Hybridization is among the evolutionary mechanisms most frequently hypothesized to drive the success of invasive species, in part because hybrids are common in invasive populations. One explanation for this pattern is that biological invasions coincide with a change in selection pressures that limit hybridization in the native range. To investigate this possibility, we studied the introduction of the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) in the southeastern United States. We find that native populations are highly genetically structured. In contrast, all invasive populations show evidence of hybridization among native-range lineages. Temporal sampling in the invasive range spanning 15 y showed that invasive genetic structure has stabilized, indicating that large-scale contemporary gene flow is limited among invasive populations and that hybrid ancestry is maintained. Additionally, our results are consistent with hybrid persistence in invasive populations resulting from changes in natural selection that occurred during invasion. Specifically, we identify a large-effect X chromosome locus associated with variation in limb length, a well-known adaptive trait in anoles, and show that this locus is often under selection in the native range, but rarely so in the invasive range. Moreover, we find that the effect size of alleles at this locus on limb length is much reduced in hybrids among divergent lineages, consistent with epistatic interactions. Thus, in the native range, epistasis manifested in hybrids can strengthen extrinsic postmating isolation. Together, our findings show how a change in natural selection can contribute to an increase in hybridization in invasive populations.

     
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  8. Abstract Human activity drastically transforms landscapes, generating novel habitats to which species must adaptively respond. Consequently, urbanization is increasingly recognized as a driver of phenotypic change. The structural environment of urban habitats presents a replicated natural experiment to examine trait–environment relationships and phenotypic variation related to locomotion. We use geometric morphometrics to examine claw morphology of five species of Anolis lizards in urban and forest habitats. We find that urban lizards undergo a shift in claw shape in the same direction but varying magnitude across species. Urban claws are overall taller, less curved, less pointed and shorter in length than those of forest lizards. These differences may enable more effective attachment or reduce interference with toepad function on smooth anthropogenic substrates. We also find an increase in shape disparity, a measurement of variation, in urban populations, suggesting relaxed selection or niche expansion rather than directional selection. This study expands our understanding of the relatively understudied trait of claw morphology and adds to a growing number of studies demonstrating phenotypic changes in urban lizards. The consistency in the direction of the shape changes we observed supports the intriguing possibility that urban environments may lead to predictable convergent adaptive change. 
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