Speciation genomics: A perspective from vertebrate systems
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Species are vital entities in biology. Species are generally considered to be discrete entities, consisting of a group of (usually interbreeding) individuals that are similar in phenotype and genetic composition, yet differ in significant ways from other species. The study of speciation has focussed on understanding general evolutionary mechanisms involved in the accumulation of differences both at the genetic and phenotypic level. In this thesis, I investigate incipient speciation, an early stage of divergence towards evolutionary independence in closely related natural populations. I make ample use of recent advances in sequencing technology that allow 1) characterizing phenotypic divergence at the level of the transcriptome and 2) delineate patterns of genetic variation at genome-scale from which processes are inferred by using principles of population genetic theory.
In the first paper, we assembled a draft genome of the hooded crow and investigated population differentiation across a famous European hybrid zone. Comparing sequence differentiation peaks between and within the colour morphs, we could identify regions of the genome that show differentiation only between colour morphs and that could be related to gene expression profiles of the melanogenesis pathway coding for colour differences.
The second paper expands on the first paper in that it includes crow population samples from across the entire Palaearctic distribution spanning two additional zones of contact between colour morphs. The results suggest that regions associated with selection against gene flow between colour morphs were largely idiosyncratic to each contact zone and emerged against a background of conserved 'islands of differentiation' due to shared linked selection.
The third paper focusses on five killer whale ecotypes with distinct feeding and habitat specific adaptations. Differing levels of sequence differentiation between these ecotypes places them along a speciation continuum and provides a unique temporal cross-section of the speciation process. Using genome scans we identified regions of the genome that show ecotype specific differentiation patterns which might contain candidate genes involved in adaptation.
In the fourth and final paper, I assumed a comparative genomic perspective to the problem of heterogeneous genomic differentiation during population divergence. The relatively high correlations in the diversity landscapes as well as differentiation patterns between crow, flycatcher and Darwin's Finch populations is best explained by conservation in broad-scale recombination rate and/or association with telomeres and centromeres conducive to shared, linked selection.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. , 52 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1326
evolution, speciation, genomics, vertebrate, adaptation, selection, linked selection, crow, killer whale, hybrid zone, transcriptomics, population genetics, behaviour, colouration
Research subject Biology with specialization in Evolutionary Genetics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265342ISBN: 978-91-554-9425-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-265342DiVA: diva2:872426
2016-01-22, Lindahlsalen, Evolutionary Biology Centre, EBC, Norbyvägen 14-18, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Buerkle, C. Alex, Associate Professor
Wolf, Jochen. B.W, Senior lecturer
List of papers