The genetic basis for adaptation in natural populations
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Many previous studies in evolutionary genetics have been based on few model organisms that can be reared at ease in the laboratory. In contrast, genetic studies of non-model, natural populations are desirable as they provide a wider range of adaptive phenotypes throughout evolutionary timescales and allow a more realistic understanding of how natural selection drives adaptive evolution. This thesis represents an example of how modern genomic tools can be effectively used to study adaptation in natural populations.
Atlantic herring is one of the world’s most numerous fish having multiple populations with phenotypic differences adapted to strikingly different environments. Our study demonstrated insignificant level of genetic drift in herring that resulted in minute genetic differences in the majority of the genome among these populations. In contrast, a small percentage of the loci showed striking genetic differentiation that were potentially under natural selection. We identified loci associated with adaptation to the Baltic Sea and with seasonal reproduction (spring- and autumn-spawning) and demonstrated that ecological adaptation in Atlantic herring is highly polygenic but controlled by a finite number of loci.
The study of Darwin’s finches constitutes a breakthrough in characterizing their evolution. We identified two loci, ALX1 and HMGA2, which most likely are the two most prominent loci that contributed to beak diversification and thereby to expanded food utilization. These loci have played a key role in adaptive evolution of Darwin’s finches. Our study also demonstrated that interspecies gene flow played a significant role in the radiation of Darwin’s finches and some species have a mixed ancestry.
This thesis also explored the genetic basis for the remarkable phenotypic differences between three male morphs in the ruff. Identification of two different versions of a 4.5 MB inversion in Satellites and Faeders that occurred about 4 million years ago revealed clues about the genetic foundation of male mating strategies in ruff. We highlighted two genes in the inverted region; HSD17B2 that affects metabolism of testosterone and MC1R that has a key role in regulating pigmentation, as the major loci associated with this adaptation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. , 60 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1192
Adaptive evolution, Atlantic herring, ecological adaptation, seasonal reproduction, TSHR, Darwin’s finches, natural selection, beak, ALX1, HMGA2, ruff, lek, inversion, HSD17B2, MC1R
Genetics and Breeding
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-279969ISBN: 978-91-554-9502-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-279969DiVA: diva2:909306
2016-04-29, B41, BMC, Husargätan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Kaessmann, Henrik, Professor
Andersson, Leif, ProfessorRubin, Carl-Johan, ForskareBarrio, Alvaro Martinez, Bioinformatiker
List of papers