Neutral Loci (neutral + locus)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION, Issue 12 2007
David Hall
A correct timing of growth cessation and dormancy induction represents a critical ecological and evolutionary trade-off between survival and growth in most forest trees (Rehfeldt et al. 1999; Horvath et al. 2003; Howe et al. 2003). We have studied the deciduous tree European Aspen (Populus tremula) across a latitudinal gradient and compared genetic differentiation in phenology traits with molecular markers. Trees from 12 different areas covering 10 latitudinal degrees were cloned and planted in two common gardens. Several phenology traits showed strong genetic differentiation and clinal variation across the latitudinal gradient, with QST values generally exceeding 0.5. This is in stark contrast to genetic differentiation at several classes of genetic markers (18 neutral SSRs, 7 SSRs located close to phenology candidate genes and 50 SNPs from five phenology candidate genes) that all showed FST values around 0.015. We thus find strong evidence for adaptive divergence in phenology traits across the latitudinal gradient. However, the strong population structure seen at the quantitative traits is not reflected in underlying candidate genes. This result fit theoretical expectations that suggest that genetic differentiation at candidate loci is better described by FST at neutral loci rather than by QST at the quantitative traits themselves. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 1 2006
Seongho Song
Abstract Populations may become differentiated from one another as a result of genetic drift. The amounts and patterns of differentiation at neutral loci are determined by local population sizes, migration rates among populations, and mutation rates. We provide exact analytical expressions for the mean, variance, and covariance of a stochastic model for hierarchically structured populations subject to migration, mutation, and drift. In addition to the expected correlation in allele frequencies among populations in the same geographic region, we demonstrate that there is a substantial correlation in allele frequencies among regions at the top level of the hierarchy. We propose a hierarchical Bayesian model for inference of Wright's F -statistics in a two-level hierarchy in which we estimate the among-region correlation in allele frequencies by substituting replication across loci for replication across time. We illustrate the approach through an analysis of human microsatellite data, and we show that approaches ignoring the among-region correlation in allele frequencies underestimate the amount of genetic differentiation among major geographic population groups by approximately 30%. Finally, we discuss the implications of these results for the use and interpretation of F -statistics in evolutionary studies. [source]


INSECT SCIENCE, Issue 4 2003
Ke Zhang
Abstract In order to determine the combined effects of migration and gene flow on evolution of insecticide resistance in the mosquito Culex pipiens, four samples were collected in China, among which two were collected along the railway from Beijing to Guangzhou. Bioassay data showed that the resistance levels of the four populations to dichlorvos were high and to parathion moderate as compared with the susceptible strain and there was no significant difference among the four populations to the same organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Starch electrophoresis was done to identify the frequency of known overproduced esterases and to analyze genetic diversity among various populations by electrophoretic polymorphism of five presumably neutral loci. The results indicated that the gene flow between populations existed and the number of effective migrants (Nm) was related to collection geography (Nm from 1.67 to 40.07). In contrast with lower genetic differentiation between two nearby populations (between GZ and ZS, ZZ and SQ) and higher genetic differentiation between two distant populations (between GZ and ZZ), there was a significant and inconsistent difference in the distribution of resistance alleles, A2-B2 when explained only with active migration. This divergent situation could be straightened out when considering passive migration (such as railway transport) which increased the spread of A2-B2 along the railway, i.e., in GZ and ZZ. The resistance alleles, A2-B2, dispersing to around areas by active migration suffered from the limitation of gene flow and the speed of invasion. [source]

When can ecological speciation be detected with neutral loci?

Abstract It is not yet clear under what conditions empirical studies can reliably detect progress toward ecological speciation through the analysis of allelic variation at neutral loci. We use a simulation approach to investigate the range of parameter space under which such detection is, and is not, likely. We specifically test for the conditions under which divergent natural selection can cause a ,generalized barrier to gene flow' that is present across the genome. Our individual-based numerical simulations focus on how population divergence at neutral loci varies in relation to recombination rate with a selected locus, divergent selection on that locus, migration rate and population size. We specifically test whether genetic differences at neutral markers are greater between populations in different environments than between populations in similar environments. We find that this expected signature of ecological speciation can be detected under part of the parameter space, most consistently when divergent selection is strong and migration is intermediate. By contrast, the expected signature of ecological speciation is not reliably detected when divergent selection is weak or migration is low or high. These findings provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of using neutral markers to infer ecological speciation in natural systems. [source]

Sculpin hybrid zones: natural laboratories for the early stages of speciation

Firmly rooted as we are in the genomic era, it can seem incredible that as recently as 1974, Lewontin declared, ,we know virtually nothing about the genetic changes that occur in species formation'. To the contrary, we now know the genetic architecture of phenotypic differences and reproductive isolation between species for many diverse groups of plants, animals, and fungi. In recent years, detailed genetic analyses have produced a small but growing list of genes that cause reproductive isolation, several of which appear to have diverged by natural selection. Yet, a full accounting of the speciation process requires that we understand the reproductive and ecological properties of natural populations as they begin to diverge genetically, as well as the dynamics of newly evolved barriers to gene flow. One promising approach to this problem is the study of natural hybrid zones, where gene exchange between divergent populations can produce recombinant genotypes in situ. In such individuals, genomic variation might be shaped by introgression at universally adaptive or neutral loci, even as regions associated with local adaptation or reproductive isolation remain divergent. In Nolte et al. (2009), the authors take advantage of two independent, recently formed hybrid zones between sculpin species to investigate genome-wide patterns of reproductive isolation. Using a recently developed genomic clines method, the authors identify marker loci that are associated with isolation, and those that show evidence for adaptive introgression. Remarkably, Nolte et al. (2009) find little similarity between the two hybrid zones in patterns of introgression, a fact that might reflect genetic variation within species or heterogeneous natural selection. In either case, their study system has the potential to provide insight into the early stages of speciation. [source]

Potential selection in native grass populations by exotic invasion

Abstract Ecological impacts of invasive plant species are well documented, but the genetic response of native species to invasive dominance has been often overlooked. Invasive plants can drastically alter site conditions where they reach dominance, potentially exerting novel selective pressures on persistent native plant populations. Do native plant populations in old exotic invasions show evidence of selection when compared to conspecific populations in adjacent, noninvaded areas? We employ amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis to screen a large number of loci from two native grass species (Hesperostipa comata (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth and Sporobolus airoides Torr.) that occur in old infestations of the invasive forb Acroptilon repens. We then compare observed locus by locus FST values with distributions of FST estimated from simulation models under expectation of neutrality. We also compare the proportion of loci possibly linked to selection and those not linked to selection which exhibit parallel trends in divergence between two community types (invaded, noninvaded). Few loci (H. comata, 2.6%; S. airoides, 8.7%) in the two native grasses may be linked to genes under the influence of selection. Also, loci linked to selection showed a greater portion of parallel trends in divergence than neutral loci. Genetic similarities between community types were less than genetic similarity within community types suggesting differentiation in response to community alteration. These results indicate that a small portion of scored AFLP loci may be linked to genes undergoing selection tied to community dominance by an invasive species. We propose that native plants in communities dominated by exotic invasives may be undergoing natural selection. [source]