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Molecular Biology and Evolution
Journal Prestige (SJR): 5.475
Citation Impact (citeScore): 8
Number of Followers: 200  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0737-4038 - ISSN (Online) 1537-1719
Published by Oxford University Press Homepage  [409 journals]
  • “Ghost Introgression” As a Cause of Deep Mitochondrial Divergence in a
           Bird Species Complex
    • Authors: Zhang D; Tang L, Cheng Y, et al.
      Pages: 2375 - 2386
      Abstract: In the absence of nuclear-genomic differentiation between two populations, deep mitochondrial divergence (DMD) is a form of mito-nuclear discordance. Such instances of DMD are rare and might variably be explained by unusual cases of female-linked selection, by male-biased dispersal, by “speciation reversal” or by mitochondrial capture through genetic introgression. Here, we analyze DMD in an Asian Phylloscopus leaf warbler (Aves: Phylloscopidae) complex. Bioacoustic, morphological, and genomic data demonstrate close similarity between the taxa affinis and occisinensis, even though DMD previously led to their classification as two distinct species. Using population genomic and comparative genomic methods on 45 whole genomes, including historical reconstructions of effective population size, genomic peaks of differentiation and genomic linkage, we infer that the form affinis is likely the product of a westward expansion in which it replaced a now-extinct congener that was the donor of its mtDNA and small portions of its nuclear genome. This study provides strong evidence of “ghost introgression” as the cause of DMD, and we suggest that “ghost introgression” may be a widely overlooked phenomenon in nature.
      PubDate: Sat, 27 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz170
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Multiple Plasticity Regulators Reveal Targets Specifying an Induced
           Predatory Form in Nematodes
    • Authors: Bui L; Ragsdale E.
      Pages: 2387 - 2399
      Abstract: The ability to translate a single genome into multiple phenotypes, or developmental plasticity, defines how phenotype derives from more than just genes. However, to study the evolutionary targets of plasticity and their evolutionary fates, we need to understand how genetic regulators of plasticity control downstream gene expression. Here, we have identified a transcriptional response specific to polyphenism (i.e., discrete plasticity) in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. This species produces alternative resource-use morphs—microbivorous and predatory forms, differing in the form of their teeth, a morphological novelty—as influenced by resource availability. Transcriptional profiles common to multiple polyphenism-controlling genes in P. pacificus reveal a suite of environmentally sensitive loci, or ultimate target genes, that make up an induced developmental response. Additionally, in vitro assays show that one polyphenism regulator, the nuclear receptor NHR-40, physically binds to promoters with putative HNF4α (the nuclear receptor class including NHR-40) binding sites, suggesting this receptor may directly regulate genes that describe alternative morphs. Among differentially expressed genes were morph-limited genes, highlighting factors with putative “on–off” function in plasticity regulation. Further, predatory morph-biased genes included candidates—namely, all four P. pacificus homologs of Hsp70, which have HNF4α motifs—whose natural variation in expression matches phenotypic differences among P. pacificus wild isolates. In summary, our study links polyphenism regulatory loci to the transcription producing alternative forms of a morphological novelty. Consequently, our findings establish a platform for determining how specific regulators of morph-biased genes may influence selection on plastic phenotypes.
      PubDate: Wed, 31 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz171
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Parallel Evolution of HIV-1 in a Long-Term Experiment
    • Authors: Bertels F; Leemann C, Metzner K, et al.
      Pages: 2400 - 2414
      Abstract: One of the most intriguing puzzles in biology is the degree to which evolution is repeatable. The repeatability of evolution, or parallel evolution, has been studied in a variety of model systems, but has rarely been investigated with clinically relevant viruses. To investigate parallel evolution of HIV-1, we passaged two replicate HIV-1 populations for almost 1 year in each of two human T-cell lines. For each of the four evolution lines, we determined the genetic composition of the viral population at nine time points by deep sequencing the entire genome. Mutations that were carried by the majority of the viral population accumulated continuously over 1 year in each evolution line. Many majority mutations appeared in more than one evolution line, that is, our experiments showed an extreme degree of parallel evolution. In one of the evolution lines, 62% of the majority mutations also occur in another line. The parallelism impairs our ability to reconstruct the evolutionary history by phylogenetic methods. We show that one can infer the correct phylogenetic topology by including minority mutations in our analysis. We also find that mutation diversity at the beginning of the experiment is predictive of the frequency of majority mutations at the end of the experiment.
      PubDate: Thu, 04 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz155
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • High Satellite Repeat Turnover in Great Apes Studied with Short- and
           Long-Read Technologies
    • Authors: Cechova M; Harris R, Tomaszkiewicz M, et al.
      Pages: 2415 - 2431
      Abstract: Satellite repeats are a structural component of centromeres and telomeres, and in some instances, their divergence is known to drive speciation. Due to their highly repetitive nature, satellite sequences have been understudied and underrepresented in genome assemblies. To investigate their turnover in great apes, we studied satellite repeats of unit sizes up to 50 bp in human, chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, using unassembled short and long sequencing reads. The density of satellite repeats, as identified from accurate short reads (Illumina), varied greatly among great ape genomes. These were dominated by a handful of abundant repeated motifs, frequently shared among species, which formed two groups: 1) the (AATGG)n repeat (critical for heat shock response) and its derivatives; and 2) subtelomeric 32-mers involved in telomeric metabolism. Using the densities of abundant repeats, individuals could be classified into species. However, clustering did not reproduce the accepted species phylogeny, suggesting rapid repeat evolution. Several abundant repeats were enriched in males versus females; using Y chromosome assemblies or Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization, we validated their location on the Y. Finally, applying a novel computational tool, we identified many satellite repeats completely embedded within long Oxford Nanopore and Pacific Biosciences reads. Such repeats were up to 59 kb in length and consisted of perfect repeats interspersed with other similar sequences. Our results based on sequencing reads generated with three different technologies provide the first detailed characterization of great ape satellite repeats, and open new avenues for exploring their functions.
      PubDate: Tue, 02 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz156
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Transcriptional Enhancers in the FOXP2 Locus Underwent Accelerated
           Evolution in the Human Lineage
    • Authors: Caporale A; Gonda C, Franchini L.
      Pages: 2432 - 2450
      Abstract: Unique human features, such as complex language, are the result of molecular evolutionary changes that modified developmental programs of our brain. The human-specific evolution of the forkhead box P2 (FOXP2) gene-coding region has been linked to the emergence of speech and language in the human kind. However, little is known about how the expression of FOXP2 is regulated and whether its regulatory machinery evolved in a lineage-specific manner in humans. In order to identify FOXP2 regulatory regions containing human-specific changes, we used databases of human-accelerated noncoding sequences or HARs. We found that the topologically associating domain determined using developing human cerebral cortex containing the FOXP2 locus includes two clusters of 12 HARs, placing the locus occupied by FOXP2 among the top regions showing fast acceleration rates in noncoding regions in the human genome. Using in vivo enhancer assays in zebrafish, we found that at least five FOXP2-HARs behave as transcriptional enhancers throughout different developmental stages. In addition, we found that at least two FOXP2-HARs direct the expression of the reporter gene EGFP to foxP2-expressing regions and cells. Moreover, we uncovered two FOXP2-HARs showing reporter expression gain of function in the nervous system when compared with the chimpanzee ortholog sequences. Our results indicate that regulatory sequences in the FOXP2 locus underwent a human-specific evolutionary process suggesting that the transcriptional machinery controlling this gene could have also evolved differentially in the human lineage.
      PubDate: Mon, 29 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz173
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Phylogenomics Reveals an Ancient Hybrid Origin of the Persian Walnut
    • Authors: Zhang B; Xu L, Li N, et al.
      Pages: 2451 - 2461
      Abstract: Persian walnut (Juglans regia) is cultivated worldwide for its high-quality wood and nuts, but its origin has remained mysterious because in phylogenies it occupies an unresolved position between American black walnuts and Asian butternuts. Equally unclear is the origin of the only American butternut, J. cinerea. We resequenced the whole genome of 80 individuals from 19 of the 22 species of Juglans and assembled the genome of its relatives Pterocarya stenoptera and Platycarya strobilacea. Using phylogenetic-network analysis of single-copy nuclear genes, genome-wide site pattern probabilities, and Approximate Bayesian Computation, we discovered that J. regia (and its landrace J. sigillata) arose as a hybrid between the American and the Asian lineages and that J. cinerea resulted from massive introgression from an immigrating Asian butternut into the genome of an American black walnut. Approximate Bayesian Computation modeling placed the hybrid origin in the late Pliocene, ∼3.45 My, with both parental lineages since having gone extinct in Europe.
      PubDate: Tue, 04 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz112
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Symbiosis, Selection, and Novelty: Freshwater Adaptation in the Unique
           Sponges of Lake Baikal
    • Authors: Kenny N; Plese B, Riesgo A, et al.
      Pages: 2462 - 2480
      Abstract: Freshwater sponges (Spongillida) are a unique lineage of demosponges that secondarily colonized lakes and rivers and are now found ubiquitously in these ecosystems. They developed specific adaptations to freshwater systems, including the ability to survive extreme thermal ranges, long-lasting dessication, anoxia, and resistance to a variety of pollutants. Although spongillids have colonized all freshwater systems, the family Lubomirskiidae is endemic to Lake Baikal and plays a range of key roles in this ecosystem. Our work compares the genomic content and microbiome of individuals of three species of the Lubomirskiidae, providing hypotheses for how molecular evolution has allowed them to adapt to their unique environments. We have sequenced deep (>92% of the metazoan “Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs” [BUSCO] set) transcriptomes from three species of Lubomirskiidae and a draft genome resource for Lubomirskia baikalensis. We note Baikal sponges contain unicellular algal and bacterial symbionts, as well as the dinoflagellate Gyrodinium. We investigated molecular evolution, gene duplication, and novelty in freshwater sponges compared with marine lineages. Sixty one orthogroups have consilient evidence of positive selection. Transporters (e.g., zinc transporter-2), transcription factors (aristaless-related homeobox), and structural proteins (e.g. actin-3), alongside other genes, are under strong evolutionary pressure in freshwater, with duplication driving novelty across the Spongillida, but especially in the Lubomirskiidae. This addition to knowledge of freshwater sponge genetics provides a range of tools for understanding the molecular biology and, in the future, the ecology (e.g., colonization and migration patterns) of these key species.
      PubDate: Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz151
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Admixture between Ancient Lineages, Selection, and the Formation of
           Sympatric Stickleback Species-Pairs
    • Authors: Dean L; Magalhaes I, Foote A, et al.
      Pages: 2481 - 2497
      Abstract: Ecological speciation has become a popular model for the development and maintenance of reproductive isolation in closely related sympatric pairs of species or ecotypes. An implicit assumption has been that such pairs originate (possibly with gene flow) from a recent, genetically homogeneous ancestor. However, recent genomic data have revealed that currently sympatric taxa are often a result of secondary contact between ancestrally allopatric lineages. This has sparked an interest in the importance of initial hybridization upon secondary contact, with genomic reanalysis of classic examples of ecological speciation often implicating admixture in speciation. We describe a novel occurrence of unusually well-developed reproductive isolation in a model system for ecological speciation: the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), breeding sympatrically in multiple lagoons on the Scottish island of North Uist. Using morphological data, targeted genotyping, and genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data, we show that lagoon resident and anadromous ecotypes are strongly reproductively isolated with an estimated hybridization rate of only ∼1%. We use palaeoecological and genetic data to test three hypotheses to explain the existence of these species-pairs. Our results suggest that recent, purely ecological speciation from a genetically homogeneous ancestor is probably not solely responsible for the evolution of species-pairs. Instead, we reveal a complex colonization history with multiple ancestral lineages contributing to the genetic composition of species-pairs, alongside strong disruptive selection. Our results imply a role for admixture upon secondary contact and are consistent with the recent suggestion that the genomic underpinning of ecological speciation often has an older, allopatric origin.
      PubDate: Tue, 16 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz161
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • MicroRNA Gene Regulation in Extremely Young and Parallel Adaptive
           Radiations of Crater Lake Cichlid Fish
    • Authors: Franchini P; Xiong P, Fruciano C, et al.
      Pages: 2498 - 2511
      Abstract: Cichlid fishes provide textbook examples of explosive phenotypic diversification and sympatric speciation, thereby making them ideal systems for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying rapid lineage divergence. Despite the fact that gene regulation provides a critical link between diversification in gene function and speciation, many genomic regulatory mechanisms such as microRNAs (miRNAs) have received little attention in these rapidly diversifying groups. Therefore, we investigated the posttranscriptional regulatory role of miRNAs in the repeated sympatric divergence of Midas cichlids (Amphilophus spp.) from Nicaraguan crater lakes. Using miRNA and mRNA sequencing of embryos from five Midas species, we first identified miRNA binding sites in mRNAs and highlighted the presences of a surprising number of novel miRNAs in these adaptively radiating species. Then, through analyses of expression levels, we identified putative miRNA/gene target pairs with negatively correlated expression level that were consistent with the role of miRNA in downregulating mRNA. Furthermore, we determined that several miRNA/gene pairs show convergent expression patterns associated with the repeated benthic/limnetic sympatric species divergence implicating these miRNAs as potential molecular mechanisms underlying replicated sympatric divergence. Finally, as these candidate miRNA/gene pairs may play a central role in phenotypic diversification in these cichlids, we characterized the expression domains of selected miRNAs and their target genes via in situ hybridization, providing further evidence that miRNA regulation likely plays a role in the Midas cichlid adaptive radiation. These results provide support for the hypothesis that extremely quickly evolving miRNA regulation can contribute to rapid evolutionary divergence even in the presence of gene flow.
      PubDate: Fri, 09 Aug 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz168
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Coevolution of Sites under Immune Selection Shapes Epstein–Barr
           Virus Population Structure
    • Authors: Wegner F; Lassalle F, Depledge D, et al.
      Pages: 2512 - 2521
      Abstract: Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is one of the most common viral infections in humans and persists within its host for life. EBV therefore represents an extremely successful virus that has evolved complex strategies to evade the host’s innate and adaptive immune response during both initial and persistent stages of infection. Here, we conducted a comparative genomics analysis on 223 whole genome sequences of worldwide EBV strains. We recover extensive genome-wide linkage disequilibrium (LD) despite pervasive genetic recombination. This pattern is explained by the global EBV population being subdivided into three main subpopulations, one primarily found in East Asia, one in Southeast Asia and Oceania, and the third including most of the other globally distributed genomes we analyzed. Additionally, sites in LD were overrepresented in immunogenic genes. Taken together, our results suggest that host immune selection and local adaptation to different human host populations has shaped the genome-wide patterns of genetic diversity in EBV.
      PubDate: Tue, 02 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz152
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Meta-Omics Reveals Genetic Flexibility of Diatom Nitrogen Transporters in
           Response to Environmental Changes
    • Authors: Busseni G; Rocha Jimenez Vieira F, Amato A, et al.
      Pages: 2522 - 2535
      Abstract: Diatoms (Bacillariophyta), one of the most abundant and diverse groups of marine phytoplankton, respond rapidly to the supply of new nutrients, often out-competing other phytoplankton. Herein, we integrated analyses of the evolution, distribution, and expression modulation of two gene families involved in diatom nitrogen uptake (DiAMT1 and DiNRT2), in order to infer the main drivers of divergence in a key functional trait of phytoplankton. Our results suggest that major steps in the evolution of the two gene families reflected key events triggering diatom radiation and diversification. Their expression is modulated in the contemporary ocean by seawater temperature, nitrate, and iron concentrations. Moreover, the differences in diversity and expression of these gene families throughout the water column hint at a possible link with bacterial activity. This study represents a proof-of-concept of how a holistic approach may shed light on the functional biology of organisms in their natural environment.
      PubDate: Mon, 01 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz157
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • De Novo Mutation Rate Estimation in Wolves of Known Pedigree
    • Authors: Koch E; Schweizer R, Schweizer T, et al.
      Pages: 2536 - 2547
      Abstract: Knowledge of mutation rates is crucial for calibrating population genetics models of demographic history in units of years. However, mutation rates remain challenging to estimate because of the need to identify extremely rare events. We estimated the nuclear mutation rate in wolves by identifying de novo mutations in a pedigree of seven wolves. Putative de novo mutations were discovered by whole-genome sequencing and were verified by Sanger sequencing of parents and offspring. Using stringent filters and an estimate of the false negative rate in the remaining observable genome, we obtain an estimate of ∼4.5 × 10−9 per base pair per generation and provide conservative bounds between 2.6 × 10−9 and 7.1 × 10−9. Although our estimate is consistent with recent mutation rate estimates from ancient DNA (4.0 × 10−9 and 3.0–4.5 × 10−9), it suggests a wider possible range. We also examined the consequences of our rate and the accompanying interval for dating several critical events in canid demographic history. For example, applying our full range of rates to coalescent models of dog and wolf demographic history implies a wide set of possible divergence times between the ancestral populations of dogs and extant Eurasian wolves (16,000–64,000 years ago) although our point estimate indicates a date between 25,000 and 33,000 years ago. Aside from one study in mice, ours provides the only direct mammalian mutation rate outside of primates and is likely to be vital to future investigations of mutation rate evolution.
      PubDate: Fri, 12 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz159
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Evolution of the Cholesterol Biosynthesis Pathway in Animals
    • Authors: Zhang T; Yuan D, Xie J, et al.
      Pages: 2548 - 2556
      Abstract: Cholesterol plays essential roles in animal development and disease progression. Here, we characterize the evolutionary pattern of the canonical cholesterol biosynthesis pathway (CBP) in the animal kingdom using both genome-wide analyses and functional experiments. CBP genes in the basal metazoans were inherited from their last common eukaryotic ancestor and evolutionarily conserved for cholesterol biosynthesis. The genomes of both the basal metazoans and deuterostomes retain almost the full set of CBP genes, while Cnidaria and many protostomes have independently experienced multiple massive losses of CBP genes that might be due to the geologic events during the Ediacaran period, such as the appearance of an exogenous sterol supply and the frequent perturbation of ocean oxygenation. Meanwhile, the indispensable utilization processes of cholesterol potentially strengthened the maintenance of the complete set of CBP genes in vertebrates. These results strengthen both biotic and abiotic roles in the macroevolution of a biosynthesis pathway in animals.
      PubDate: Fri, 09 Aug 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz167
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Genomic Patterns of Local Adaptation under Gene Flow in Arabidopsis lyrata
    • Authors: Hämälä T; Savolainen O.
      Pages: 2557 - 2571
      Abstract: Short-scale local adaptation is a complex process involving selection, migration, and drift. The expected effects on the genome are well grounded in theory but examining these on an empirical level has proven difficult, as it requires information about local selection, demographic history, and recombination rate variation. Here, we use locally adapted and phenotypically differentiated Arabidopsis lyrata populations from two altitudinal gradients in Norway to test these expectations at the whole-genome level. Demography modeling indicates that populations within the gradients diverged <2 kya and that the sites are connected by gene flow. The gene flow estimates are, however, highly asymmetric with migration from high to low altitudes being several times more frequent than vice versa. To detect signatures of selection for local adaptation, we estimate patterns of lineage-specific differentiation among these populations. Theory predicts that gene flow leads to concentration of adaptive loci in areas of low recombination; a pattern we observe in both lowland-alpine comparisons. Although most selected loci display patterns of conditional neutrality, we found indications of genetic trade-offs, with one locus particularly showing high differentiation and signs of selection in both populations. Our results further suggest that resistance to solar radiation is an important adaptation to alpine environments, while vegetative growth and bacterial defense are indicated as selected traits in the lowland habitats. These results provide insights into genetic architectures and evolutionary processes driving local adaptation under gene flow. We also contribute to understanding of traits and biological processes underlying alpine adaptation in northern latitudes.
      PubDate: Tue, 25 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz149
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Population Gene Introgression and High Genome Plasticity for the Zoonotic
           Pathogen Streptococcus agalactiae
    • Authors: Richards V; Velsko I, Alam M, et al.
      Pages: 2572 - 2590
      Abstract: The influence that bacterial adaptation (or niche partitioning) within species has on gene spillover and transmission among bacterial populations occupying different niches is not well understood. Streptococcus agalactiae is an important bacterial pathogen that has a taxonomically diverse host range making it an excellent model system to study these processes. Here, we analyze a global set of 901 genome sequences from nine diverse host species to advance our understanding of these processes. Bayesian clustering analysis delineated 12 major populations that closely aligned with niches. Comparative genomics revealed extensive gene gain/loss among populations and a large pan genome of 9,527 genes, which remained open and was strongly partitioned among niches. As a result, the biochemical characteristics of 11 populations were highly distinctive (significantly enriched). Positive selection was detected and biochemical characteristics of the dispensable genes under selection were enriched in ten populations. Despite the strong gene partitioning, phylogenomics detected gene spillover. In particular, tetracycline resistance (which likely evolved in the human-associated population) from humans to bovine, canines, seals, and fish, demonstrating how a gene selected in one host can ultimately be transmitted into another, and biased transmission from humans to bovines was confirmed with a Bayesian migration analysis. Our findings show high bacterial genome plasticity acting in balance with selection pressure from distinct functional requirements of niches that is associated with an extensive and highly partitioned dispensable genome, likely facilitating continued and expansive adaptation.
      PubDate: Thu, 25 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz169
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • EPAS1 Gain-of-Function Mutation Contributes to High-Altitude Adaptation in
           Tibetan Horses
    • Authors: Liu X; Zhang Y, Li Y, et al.
      Pages: 2591 - 2603
      Abstract: High altitude represents some of the most extreme environments worldwide. The genetic changes underlying adaptation to such environments have been recently identified in multiple animals but remain unknown in horses. Here, we sequence the complete genome of 138 domestic horses encompassing a whole altitudinal range across China to uncover the genetic basis for adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia. Our genome data set includes 65 lowland animals across ten Chinese native breeds, 61 horses living at least 3,300 m above sea level across seven locations along Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, as well as 7 Thoroughbred and 5 Przewalski’s horses added for comparison. We find that Tibetan horses do not descend from Przewalski’s horses but were most likely introduced from a distinct horse lineage, following the emergence of pastoral nomadism in Northwestern China ∼3,700 years ago. We identify that the endothelial PAS domain protein 1 gene (EPAS1, also HIF2A) shows the strongest signature for positive selection in the Tibetan horse genome. Two missense mutations at this locus appear strongly associated with blood physiological parameters facilitating blood circulation as well as oxygen transportation and consumption in hypoxic conditions. Functional validation through protein mutagenesis shows that these mutations increase EPAS1 stability and its hetero dimerization affinity to ARNT (HIF1B). Our study demonstrates that missense mutations in the EPAS1 gene provided key evolutionary molecular adaptation to Tibetan horses living in high-altitude hypoxic environments. It reveals possible targets for genomic selection programs aimed at increasing hypoxia tolerance in livestock and provides a textbook example of evolutionary convergence across independent mammal lineages.
      PubDate: Thu, 04 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz158
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • GEMME: A Simple and Fast Global Epistatic Model Predicting Mutational
    • Authors: Laine E; Karami Y, Carbone A.
      Pages: 2604 - 2619
      Abstract: The systematic and accurate description of protein mutational landscapes is a question of utmost importance in biology, bioengineering, and medicine. Recent progress has been achieved by leveraging on the increasing wealth of genomic data and by modeling intersite dependencies within biological sequences. However, state-of-the-art methods remain time consuming. Here, we present Global Epistatic Model for predicting Mutational Effects (GEMME) (, an original and fast method that predicts mutational outcomes by explicitly modeling the evolutionary history of natural sequences. This allows accounting for all positions in a sequence when estimating the effect of a given mutation. GEMME uses only a few biologically meaningful and interpretable parameters. Assessed against 50 high- and low-throughput mutational experiments, it overall performs similarly or better than existing methods. It accurately predicts the mutational landscapes of a wide range of protein families, including viral ones and, more generally, of much conserved families. Given an input alignment, it generates the full mutational landscape of a protein in a matter of minutes. It is freely available as a package and a webserver at
      PubDate: Mon, 12 Aug 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz179
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Bayesian Estimation of Past Population Dynamics in BEAST 1.10 Using the
           Skygrid Coalescent Model
    • Authors: Hill V; Baele G.
      Pages: 2620 - 2628
      Abstract: Inferring past population dynamics over time from heterochronous molecular sequence data is often achieved using the Bayesian Skygrid model, a nonparametric coalescent model that estimates the effective population size over time. Available in BEAST, a cross-platform program for Bayesian analysis of molecular sequences using Markov chain Monte Carlo, this coalescent model is often estimated in conjunction with a molecular clock model to produce time-stamped phylogenetic trees. We here provide a practical guide to using BEAST and its accompanying applications for the purpose of drawing inference under these models. We focus on best practices, potential pitfalls, and recommendations that can be generalized to other software packages for Bayesian inference. This protocol shows how to use TempEst, BEAUti, and BEAST 1.10 (; last accessed July 29, 2019), LogCombiner as well as Tracer in a complete workflow.
      PubDate: Wed, 31 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz172
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Scientists Explore Diversity of Han Chinese
    • Authors: Caspermeyer J.
      Pages: 2629 - 2629
      Abstract: The Han Chinese are the world's largest ethnic group, making up 91.6% of modern-day China. As DNA sequencing tools and statistical analyses software have advanced, scientists have been exploring the forces that helped shape the current genetic landscape of Han Chinese.
      PubDate: Thu, 12 Sep 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz162
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
  • Scientists Crack Origin of the Persian Walnut
    • Authors: Caspermeyer J.
      Pages: 2630 - 2630
      Abstract: Prized worldwide for its high-quality wood and rich flavor of delicious nuts, the Persian walnut (Juglans regia) is an important economic crop. The Persian walnut is one of 22 species in the genus Juglans, which includes black and white walnuts and butternuts, grown across Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
      PubDate: Thu, 12 Sep 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz164
      Issue No: Vol. 36, No. 11 (2019)
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