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Molecular Biology and Evolution
Journal Prestige (SJR): 5.475
Citation Impact (citeScore): 8
Number of Followers: 213  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0737-4038 - ISSN (Online) 1537-1719
Published by Oxford University Press Homepage  [411 journals]
  • How Algae Adapt to the Extreme Antarctic Cold
    • Authors: Caspermeyer J.
      Pages: 940 - 941
      Abstract: Typically, algae are known as the pond scum associated with extremely warm summer temperatures near the shores of lakes or oceans. Now, a new study shows that when they are shifted to the extreme cold of Antarctica, special antifreeze enzymes and proteins can kick into gear to help them adapt and survive.
      PubDate: Mon, 24 Feb 2020 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msaa017
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2020)
  • Shark and Ray Vision Come into Focus
    • Authors: Caspermeyer J.
      Pages: 940 - 941
      Abstract: Vision is a crucial sense for most animals, and vertebrates have evolved a highly adaptable set of opsin genes that generate light-sensitive pigments to decode the retinal image. These opsins include a rod opsin to help see in low light, and four classes of cone opsins to see in bright light and detect colors across the visible light spectrum.
      PubDate: Mon, 24 Feb 2020 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msaa020
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2020)
  • Ancient DNA Reconstructs the Genetic Legacies of Precontact Puerto Rico
    • Authors: Nieves-Colón M; Pestle W, Reynolds A, et al.
      Pages: 611 - 626
      Abstract: AbstractIndigenous peoples have occupied the island of Puerto Rico since at least 3000 BC. Due to the demographic shifts that occurred after European contact, the origin(s) of these ancient populations, and their genetic relationship to present-day islanders, are unclear. We use ancient DNA to characterize the population history and genetic legacies of precontact Indigenous communities from Puerto Rico. Bone, tooth, and dental calculus samples were collected from 124 individuals from three precontact archaeological sites: Tibes, Punta Candelero, and Paso del Indio. Despite poor DNA preservation, we used target enrichment and high-throughput sequencing to obtain complete mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA) from 45 individuals and autosomal genotypes from two individuals. We found a high proportion of Native American mtDNA haplogroups A2 and C1 in the precontact Puerto Rico sample (40% and 44%, respectively). This distribution, as well as the haplotypes represented, supports a primarily Amazonian South American origin for these populations and mirrors the Native American mtDNA diversity patterns found in present-day islanders. Three mtDNA haplotypes from precontact Puerto Rico persist among Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean islanders, indicating that present-day populations are reservoirs of precontact mtDNA diversity. Lastly, we find similarity in autosomal ancestry patterns between precontact individuals from Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, suggesting a shared component of Indigenous Caribbean ancestry with close affinity to South American populations. Our findings contribute to a more complete reconstruction of precontact Caribbean population history and explore the role of Indigenous peoples in shaping the biocultural diversity of present-day Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean islanders.
      PubDate: Sat, 09 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz267
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Recurrent Collection of Drosophila melanogaster from Wild African
           Environments and Genomic Insights into Species History
    • Authors: Sprengelmeyer Q; Mansourian S, Lange J, et al.
      Pages: 627 - 638
      Abstract: AbstractA long-standing enigma concerns the geographic and ecological origins of the intensively studied vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This globally distributed human commensal is thought to originate from sub-Saharan Africa, yet until recently, it had never been reported from undisturbed wilderness environments that could reflect its precommensal niche. Here, we document the collection of 288 D. melanogaster individuals from multiple African wilderness areas in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. The presence of D. melanogaster in these remote woodland environments is consistent with an ancestral range in southern-central Africa, as opposed to equatorial regions. After sequencing the genomes of 17 wilderness-collected flies collected from Kafue National Park in Zambia, we found reduced genetic diversity relative to town populations, elevated chromosomal inversion frequencies, and strong differences at specific genes including known insecticide targets. Combining these genomes with existing data, we probed the history of this species’ geographic expansion. Demographic estimates indicated that expansion from southern-central Africa began ∼10,000 years ago, with a Saharan crossing soon after, but expansion from the Middle East into Europe did not begin until roughly 1,400 years ago. This improved model of demographic history will provide an important resource for future evolutionary and genomic studies of this key model organism. Our findings add context to the history of D. melanogaster, while opening the door for future studies on the biological basis of adaptation to human environments.
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz271
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • HLA Heterozygote Advantage against HIV-1 Is Driven by Quantitative and
           Qualitative Differences in HLA Allele-Specific Peptide Presentation
    • Authors: Arora J; Pierini F, McLaren P, et al.
      Pages: 639 - 650
      Abstract: AbstractPathogen-mediated balancing selection is regarded as a key driver of host immunogenetic diversity. A hallmark for balancing selection in humans is the heterozygote advantage at genes of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA), resulting in improved HIV-1 control. However, the actual mechanism of the observed heterozygote advantage is still elusive. HLA heterozygotes may present a broader array of antigenic viral peptides to immune cells, possibly resulting in a more efficient cytotoxic T-cell response. Alternatively, heterozygosity may simply increase the chance to carry the most protective HLA alleles, as individual HLA alleles are known to differ substantially in their association with HIV-1 control. Here, we used data from 6,311 HIV-1-infected individuals to explore the relative contribution of quantitative and qualitative aspects of peptide presentation in HLA heterozygote advantage against HIV. Screening the entire HIV-1 proteome, we observed that heterozygous individuals exhibited a broader array of HIV-1 peptides presented by their HLA class I alleles. In addition, viral load was negatively correlated with the breadth of the HIV-1 peptide repertoire bound by an individual’s HLA variants, particularly at HLA-B. This suggests that heterozygote advantage at HLA-B is at least in part mediated by quantitative peptide presentation. We also observed higher HIV-1 sequence diversity among HLA-B heterozygous individuals, suggesting stronger evolutionary pressure from HLA heterozygosity. However, HLA heterozygotes were also more likely to carry certain HLA alleles, including the highly protective HLA-B*57:01 variant, indicating that HLA heterozygote advantage ultimately results from a combination of quantitative and qualitative effects in antigen presentation.
      PubDate: Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz249
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Ancient Adaptive Lateral Gene Transfers in the Symbiotic
           Opalina–Blastocystis Stramenopile Lineage
    • Authors: Yubuki N; Galindo L, Reboul G, et al.
      Pages: 651 - 659
      Abstract: AbstractLateral gene transfer is a very common process in bacterial and archaeal evolution, playing an important role in the adaptation to new environments. In eukaryotes, its role and frequency remain highly debated, although recent research supports that gene transfer from bacteria to diverse eukaryotes may be much more common than previously appreciated. However, most of this research focused on animals and the true phylogenetic and functional impact of bacterial genes in less-studied microbial eukaryotic groups remains largely unknown. Here, we have analyzed transcriptome data from the deep-branching stramenopile Opalinidae, common members of frog gut microbiomes, and distantly related to the well-known genus Blastocystis. Phylogenetic analyses suggest the early acquisition of several bacterial genes in a common ancestor of both lineages. Those lateral gene transfers most likely facilitated the adaptation of the free-living ancestor of the Opalinidae–Blastocystis symbiotic group to new niches in the oxygen-depleted animal gut environment.
      PubDate: Wed, 06 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz250
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • OxyR Is a Convergent Target for Mutations Acquired during Adaptation to
           Oxidative Stress-Prone Metabolic States
    • Authors: Anand A; Chen K, Catoiu E, et al.
      Pages: 660 - 667
      Abstract: AbstractOxidative stress is concomitant with aerobic metabolism. Thus, bacterial genomes encode elaborate mechanisms to achieve redox homeostasis. Here we report that the peroxide-sensing transcription factor, oxyR, is a common mutational target using bacterial species belonging to two genera, Escherichia coli and Vibrio natriegens, in separate growth conditions implemented during laboratory evolution. The mutations clustered in the redox active site, dimer interface, and flexible redox loop of the protein. These mutations favor the oxidized conformation of OxyR that results in constitutive expression of the genes it regulates. Independent component analysis of the transcriptome revealed that the constitutive activity of OxyR reduces DNA damage from reactive oxygen species, as inferred from the activity of the SOS response regulator LexA. This adaptation to peroxide stress came at a cost of lower growth, as revealed by calculations of proteome allocation using genome-scale models of metabolism and macromolecular expression. Further, identification of similar sequence changes in natural isolates of E. coli indicates that adaptation to oxidative stress through genetic changes in oxyR can be a common occurrence.
      PubDate: Fri, 25 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz251
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Higher Gene Flow in Sex-Related Chromosomes than in Autosomes during
           Fungal Divergence
    • Authors: Hartmann F; Rodríguez de la Vega R, Gladieux P, et al.
      Pages: 668 - 682
      Abstract: AbstractNonrecombining sex chromosomes are widely found to be more differentiated than autosomes among closely related species, due to smaller effective population size and/or to a disproportionally large-X effect in reproductive isolation. Although fungal mating-type chromosomes can also display large nonrecombining regions, their levels of differentiation compared with autosomes have been little studied. Anther-smut fungi from the Microbotryum genus are castrating pathogens of Caryophyllaceae plants with largely nonrecombining mating-type chromosomes. Using whole genome sequences of 40 fungal strains, we quantified genetic differentiation among strains isolated from the geographically overlapping North American species and subspecies of Silene virginica and S. caroliniana. We inferred that gene flow likely occurred at the early stages of divergence and then completely stopped. We identified large autosomal genomic regions with chromosomal inversions, with higher genetic divergence than the rest of the genomes and highly enriched in selective sweeps, supporting a role of rearrangements in preventing gene flow in genomic regions involved in ecological divergence. Unexpectedly, the nonrecombining mating-type chromosomes showed lower divergence than autosomes due to higher gene flow, which may be promoted by adaptive introgressions of less degenerated mating-type chromosomes. The fact that both mating-type chromosomes are always heterozygous and nonrecombining may explain such patterns that oppose to those found for XY or ZW sex chromosomes. The specific features of mating-type chromosomes may also apply to the UV sex chromosomes determining sexes at the haploid stage in algae and bryophytes and may help test general hypotheses on the evolutionary specificities of sex-related chromosomes.
      PubDate: Fri, 25 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz252
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Mitochondrial Metagenomics Reveals the Ancient Origin and Phylodiversity
           of Soil Mites and Provides a Phylogeny of the Acari
    • Authors: Arribas P; Andújar C, Moraza M, et al.
      Pages: 683 - 694
      Abstract: AbstractHigh-throughput DNA methods hold great promise for phylogenetic analysis of lineages that are difficult to study with conventional molecular and morphological approaches. The mites (Acari), and in particular the highly diverse soil-dwelling lineages, are among the least known branches of the metazoan Tree-of-Life. We extracted numerous minute mites from soils in an area of mixed forest and grassland in southern Iberia. Selected specimens representing the full morphological diversity were shotgun sequenced in bulk, followed by genome assembly of short reads from the mixture, which produced >100 mitochondrial genomes representing diverse acarine lineages. Phylogenetic analyses in combination with taxonomically limited mitogenomes available publicly resulted in plausible trees defining basal relationships of the Acari. Several critical nodes were supported by ancestral-state reconstructions of mitochondrial gene rearrangements. Molecular calibration placed the minimum age for the common ancestor of the superorder Acariformes, which includes most soil-dwelling mites, to the Cambrian–Ordovician (likely within 455–552 Ma), whereas the origin of the superorder Parasitiformes was placed later in the Carboniferous-Permian. Most family-level taxa within the Acariformes were dated to the Jurassic and Triassic. The ancient origin of Acariformes and the early diversification of major extant lineages linked to the soil are consistent with a pioneering role for mites in building the earliest terrestrial ecosystems.
      PubDate: Thu, 31 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz255
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Divergent Selection and Primary Gene Flow Shape Incipient Speciation of a
           Riparian Tree on Hawaii Island
    • Authors: Choi J; Purugganan M, Stacy E, et al.
      Pages: 695 - 710
      Abstract: AbstractA long-standing goal of evolutionary biology is to understand the mechanisms underlying the formation of species. Of particular interest is whether or not speciation can occur in the presence of gene flow and without a period of physical isolation. Here, we investigated this process within Hawaiian Metrosideros, a hypervariable and highly dispersible woody species complex that dominates the Hawaiian Islands in continuous stands. Specifically, we investigated the origin of Metrosideros polymorpha var. newellii (newellii), a riparian ecotype endemic to Hawaii Island that is purportedly derived from the archipelago-wide M. polymorpha var. glaberrima (glaberrima). Disruptive selection across a sharp forest-riparian ecotone contributes to the isolation of these varieties and is a likely driver of newellii’s origin. We examined genome-wide variation of 42 trees from Hawaii Island and older islands. Results revealed a split between glaberrima and newellii within the past 0.3–1.2 My. Admixture was extensive between lineages within Hawaii Island and between islands, but introgression from populations on older islands (i.e., secondary gene flow) did not appear to contribute to the emergence of newellii. In contrast, recurrent gene flow (i.e., primary gene flow) between glaberrima and newellii contributed to the formation of genomic islands of elevated absolute and relative divergence. These regions were enriched for genes with regulatory functions as well as for signals of positive selection, especially in newellii, consistent with divergent selection underlying their formation. In sum, our results support riparian newellii as a rare case of incipient ecological speciation with primary gene flow in trees.
      PubDate: Wed, 06 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz259
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Genomic Resources for Darters (Percidae: Etheostominae) Provide Insight
           into Postzygotic Barriers Implicated in Speciation
    • Authors: Moran R; Catchen J, Fuller R, et al.
      Pages: 711 - 729
      Abstract: AbstractComparative genomic approaches are increasingly being used to study the evolution of reproductive barriers in nonmodel species. Although numerous studies have examined prezygotic isolation in darters (Percidae), investigations into postzygotic barriers have remained rare due to long generation times and a lack of genomic resources. Orangethroat and rainbow darters naturally hybridize and provide a remarkable example of male-driven speciation via character displacement. Backcross hybrids suffer from high mortality, which appears to promote behavioral isolation in sympatry. To investigate the genomic architecture of postzygotic isolation, we used Illumina and PacBio sequencing to generate a chromosome-level, annotated assembly of the orangethroat darter genome and high-density linkage maps for orangethroat and rainbow darters. We also analyzed genome-wide RADseq data from wild-caught adults of both species and laboratory-generated backcrosses to identify genomic regions associated with hybrid incompatibles. Several putative chromosomal translocations and inversions were observed between orangethroat and rainbow darters, suggesting structural rearrangements may underlie postzygotic isolation. We also found evidence of selection against recombinant haplotypes and transmission ratio distortion in backcross hybrid genomes, providing further insight into the genomic architecture of genetic incompatibilities. Notably, regions with high levels of genetic divergence between species were enriched for genes associated with developmental and meiotic processes, providing strong candidates for postzygotic isolating barriers. These findings mark significant contributions to our understanding of the genetic basis of reproductive isolation between species undergoing character displacement. Furthermore, the genomic resources presented here will be instrumental for studying speciation in darters, the most diverse vertebrate group in North America.
      PubDate: Tue, 05 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz260
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Phylogenomics Identifies an Ancestral Burst of Gene Duplications Predating
           the Diversification of Aphidomorpha
    • Authors: Julca I; Marcet-Houben M, Cruz F, et al.
      Pages: 730 - 756
      Abstract: AbstractAphids (Aphidoidea) are a diverse group of hemipteran insects that feed on plant phloem sap. A common finding in studies of aphid genomes is the presence of a large number of duplicated genes. However, when these duplications occurred remains unclear, partly due to the high relatedness of sequenced species. To better understand the origin of aphid duplications we sequenced and assembled the genome of Cinara cedri, an early branching lineage (Lachninae) of the Aphididae family. We performed a phylogenomic comparison of this genome with 20 other sequenced genomes, including the available genomes of five other aphids, along with the transcriptomes of two species belonging to Adelgidae (a closely related clade to the aphids) and Coccoidea. We found that gene duplication has been pervasive throughout the evolution of aphids, including many parallel waves of recent, species-specific duplications. Most notably, we identified a consistent set of very ancestral duplications, originating from a large-scale gene duplication predating the diversification of Aphidomorpha (comprising aphids, phylloxerids, and adelgids). Genes duplicated in this ancestral wave are enriched in functions related to traits shared by Aphidomorpha, such as association with endosymbionts, and adaptation to plant defenses and phloem-sap-based diet. The ancestral nature of this duplication wave (106–227 Ma) and the lack of sufficiently conserved synteny make it difficult to conclude whether it originated from a whole-genome duplication event or, alternatively, from a burst of large-scale segmental duplications. Genome sequencing of other aphid species belonging to different Aphidomorpha and related lineages may clarify these findings.
      PubDate: Fri, 08 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz261
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • A Burst of Genetic Innovation in Drosophila Actin-Related Proteins for
           Testis-Specific Function
    • Authors: Schroeder C; Valenzuela J, Mejia Natividad I, et al.
      Pages: 757 - 772
      Abstract: AbstractMany cytoskeletal proteins perform fundamental biological processes and are evolutionarily ancient. For example, the superfamily of actin-related proteins (Arps) specialized early in eukaryotic evolution for diverse cellular roles in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Despite its strict conservation across eukaryotes, we find that the Arp superfamily has undergone dramatic lineage-specific diversification in Drosophila. Our phylogenomic analyses reveal four independent Arp gene duplications that occurred in the common ancestor of the obscura group of Drosophila and have been mostly preserved in this lineage. All four obscura-specific Arp paralogs are predominantly expressed in the male germline and have evolved under positive selection. We focus our analyses on the divergent Arp2D paralog, which arose via a retroduplication event from Arp2, a component of the Arp2/3 complex that polymerizes branched actin networks. Computational modeling analyses suggest that Arp2D can replace Arp2 in the Arp2/3 complex and bind actin monomers. Together with the signature of positive selection, our findings suggest that Arp2D may augment Arp2’s functions in the male germline. Indeed, we find that Arp2D is expressed during and following male meiosis, where it localizes to distinct locations such as actin cones—specialized cytoskeletal structures that separate bundled spermatids into individual mature sperm. We hypothesize that this unprecedented burst of genetic innovation in cytoskeletal proteins may have been driven by the evolution of sperm heteromorphism in the obscura group of Drosophila.
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz262
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Plasmodium vivax Malaria Viewed through the Lens of an Eradicated European
    • Authors: van Dorp L; Gelabert P, Rieux A, et al.
      Pages: 773 - 785
      Abstract: AbstractThe protozoan Plasmodium vivax is responsible for 42% of all cases of malaria outside Africa. The parasite is currently largely restricted to tropical and subtropical latitudes in Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Though, it was historically present in most of Europe before being finally eradicated during the second half of the 20th century. The lack of genomic information on the extinct European lineage has prevented a clear understanding of historical population structuring and past migrations of P. vivax. We used medical microscope slides prepared in 1944 from malaria-affected patients from the Ebro Delta in Spain, one of the last footholds of malaria in Europe, to generate a genome of a European P. vivax strain. Population genetics and phylogenetic analyses placed this strain basal to a cluster including samples from the Americas. This genome allowed us to calibrate a genomic mutation rate for P. vivax, and to estimate the mean age of the last common ancestor between European and American strains to the 15th century. This date points to an introduction of the parasite during the European colonization of the Americas. In addition, we found that some known variants for resistance to antimalarial drugs, including Chloroquine and Sulfadoxine, were already present in this European strain, predating their use. Our results shed light on the evolution of an important human pathogen and illustrate the value of antique medical collections as a resource for retrieving genomic information on pathogens from the past.
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz264
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Diet and Adaptive Evolution of Alanine-Glyoxylate Aminotransferase
           Mitochondrial Targeting in Birds
    • Authors: Wang B; Xia J, Wang Q, et al.
      Pages: 786 - 798
      Abstract: AbstractAdaptations to different diets represent a hallmark of animal diversity. The diets of birds are highly variable, making them an excellent model system for studying adaptive evolution driven by dietary changes. To test whether molecular adaptations to diet have occurred during the evolution of birds, we examined a dietary enzyme alanine-glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT), which tends to target mitochondria in carnivorous mammals, peroxisomes in herbivorous mammals, and both mitochondria and peroxisomes in omnivorous mammals. A total of 31 bird species were examined in this study, which included representatives of most major avian lineages. Of these, 29 have an intact mitochondrial targeting sequence (MTS) of AGT. This finding is in stark contrast to mammals, which showed a number of independent losses of the MTS. Our cell-based functional assays revealed that the efficiency of AGT mitochondrial targeting was greatly reduced in unrelated lineages of granivorous birds, yet it tended to be high in insectivorous and carnivorous lineages. Furthermore, we found that proportions of animal tissue in avian diets were positively correlated with mitochondrial targeting efficiencies that were experimentally determined, but not with those that were computationally predicted. Adaptive evolution of AGT mitochondrial targeting in birds was further supported by the detection of positive selection on MTS regions. Our study contributes to the understanding of how diet drives molecular adaptations in animals, and suggests that caution must be taken when computationally predicting protein subcellular targeting.
      PubDate: Fri, 08 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz266
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Developmental Systems Drift and the Drivers of Sex Chromosome Evolution
    • Authors: Cauret C; Gansauge M, Tupper A, et al.
      Pages: 799 - 810
      Abstract: AbstractPhenotypic invariance—the outcome of purifying selection—is a hallmark of biological importance. However, invariant phenotypes might be controlled by diverged genetic systems in different species. Here, we explore how an important and invariant phenotype—the development of sexually differentiated individuals—is controlled in over two dozen species in the frog family Pipidae. We uncovered evidence in different species for 1) an ancestral W chromosome that is not found in many females and is found in some males, 2) independent losses and 3) autosomal segregation of this W chromosome, 4) changes in male versus female heterogamy, and 5) substantial variation among species in recombination suppression on sex chromosomes. We further provide evidence of, and evolutionary context for, the origins of at least seven distinct systems for regulating sex determination among three closely related genera. These systems are distinct in their genomic locations, evolutionary origins, and/or male versus female heterogamy. Our findings demonstrate that the developmental control of sexual differentiation changed via loss, sidelining, and empowerment of a mechanistically influential gene, and offer insights into novel factors that impinge on the diverse evolutionary fates of sex chromosomes.
      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz268
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Visual Opsin Diversity in Sharks and Rays
    • Authors: Hart N; Lamb T, Patel H, et al.
      Pages: 811 - 827
      Abstract: AbstractThe diversity of color vision systems found in extant vertebrates suggests that different evolutionary selection pressures have driven specializations in photoreceptor complement and visual pigment spectral tuning appropriate for an animal’s behavior, habitat, and life history. Aquatic vertebrates in particular show high variability in chromatic vision and have become important models for understanding the role of color vision in prey detection, predator avoidance, and social interactions. In this study, we examined the capacity for chromatic vision in elasmobranch fishes, a group that have received relatively little attention to date. We used microspectrophotometry to measure the spectral absorbance of the visual pigments in the outer segments of individual photoreceptors from several ray and shark species, and we sequenced the opsin mRNAs obtained from the retinas of the same species, as well as from additional elasmobranch species. We reveal the phylogenetically widespread occurrence of dichromatic color vision in rays based on two cone opsins, RH2 and LWS. We also confirm that all shark species studied to date appear to be cone monochromats but report that in different species the single cone opsin may be of either the LWS or the RH2 class. From this, we infer that cone monochromacy in sharks has evolved independently on multiple occasions. Together with earlier discoveries in secondarily aquatic marine mammals, this suggests that cone-based color vision may be of little use for large marine predators, such as sharks, pinnipeds, and cetaceans.
      PubDate: Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz269
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Somatic Mutations and Genome Stability Maintenance in Clonal Coral
    • Authors: López E; Palumbi S, Yeager M.
      Pages: 828 - 838
      Abstract: AbstractOne challenge for multicellular organisms is maintaining genome stability in the face of mutagens across long life spans. Imperfect genome maintenance leads to mutation accumulation in somatic cells, which is associated with tumors and senescence in vertebrates. Colonial reef-building corals are often large, can live for hundreds of years, rarely develop recognizable tumors, and are thought to convert somatic cells into gamete producers, so they are a pivotal group in which to understand long-term genome maintenance. To measure rates and patterns of somatic mutations, we analyzed transcriptomes from 17 to 22 branches from each of four Acropora hyacinthus colonies, determined putative single nucleotide variants, and verified them with Sanger resequencing. Unlike for human skin carcinomas, there is no signature of mutations caused by UV damage, indicating either higher efficiency of repair than in vertebrates, or strong sunscreen protection in these shallow water tropical animals. The somatic mutation frequency per nucleotide in A. hyacinthus is on the same order of magnitude (10−7) as noncancerous human somatic cells, and accumulation of mutations with age is similar. Loss of heterozygosity variants outnumber gain of heterozygosity mutations ∼2:1. Although the mutation frequency is similar in mammals and corals, the preponderance of loss of heterozygosity changes and potential selection may reduce the frequency of deleterious mutations in colonial animals like corals. This may limit the deleterious effects of somatic mutations on the coral organism as well as potential offspring.
      PubDate: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz270
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Domestication of High-Copy Transposons Underlays the Wheat Small RNA
           Response to an Obligate Pathogen
    • Authors: Poretti M; Praz C, Meile L, et al.
      Pages: 839 - 848
      Abstract: AbstractPlant genomes have evolved several evolutionary mechanisms to tolerate and make use of transposable elements (TEs). Of these, transposon domestication into cis-regulatory and microRNA (miRNA) sequences is proposed to contribute to abiotic/biotic stress adaptation in plants. The wheat genome is derived at 85% from TEs, and contains thousands of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs), whose sequences are particularly prone for domestication into miRNA precursors. In this study, we investigate the contribution of TEs to the wheat small RNA immune response to the lineage-specific, obligate powdery mildew pathogen. We show that MITEs of the Mariner superfamily contribute the largest diversity of miRNAs to the wheat immune response. In particular, MITE precursors of miRNAs are wide-spread over the wheat genome, and highly conserved copies are found in the Lr34 and QPm.tut-4A mildew resistance loci. Our work suggests that transposon domestication is an important evolutionary force driving miRNA functional innovation in wheat immunity.
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz272
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Early Stage Adaptation of a Mesophilic Green Alga to Antarctica:
           Systematic Increases in Abundance of Enzymes and LEA Proteins
    • Authors: Wang Y; Liu X, Gao H, et al.
      Pages: 849 - 863
      Abstract: AbstractIt is known that adaptive evolution in permanently cold environments drives cold adaptation in enzymes. However, how the relatively high enzyme activities were achieved in cold environments prior to cold adaptation of enzymes is unclear. Here we report that an Antarctic strain of Chlorella vulgaris, called NJ-7, acquired the capability to grow at near 0 °C temperatures and greatly enhanced freezing tolerance after systematic increases in abundance of enzymes/proteins and positive selection of certain genes. Having diverged from the temperate strain UTEX259 of the same species 2.5 (1.1–4.1) to 2.6 (1.0–4.5) Ma, NJ-7 retained the basic mesophilic characteristics and genome structures. Nitrate reductases in the two strains are highly similar in amino acid sequence and optimal temperature, but the NJ-7 one showed significantly higher abundance and activity. Quantitative proteomic analyses indicated that several cryoprotective proteins (LEA), many enzymes involved in carbon metabolism and a large number of other enzymes/proteins, were more abundant in NJ-7 than in UTEX259. Like nitrate reductase, most of these enzymes were not upregulated in response to cold stress. Thus, compensation of low specific activities by increased enzyme abundance appears to be an important strategy for early stage cold adaptation to Antarctica, but such enzymes are mostly not involved in cold acclimation upon transfer from favorable temperatures to near 0 °C temperatures.
      PubDate: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz273
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • The Loci of Behavioral Evolution: Evidence That Fas2 and tilB Underlie
           Differences in Pupation Site Choice Behavior between Drosophila
           melanogaster and D. simulans
    • Authors: Pischedda A; Shahandeh M, Turner T, et al.
      Pages: 864 - 880
      Abstract: AbstractThe behaviors of closely related species can be remarkably different, and these differences have important ecological and evolutionary consequences. Although the recent boom in genotype–phenotype studies has led to a greater understanding of the genetic architecture and evolution of a variety of traits, studies identifying the genetic basis of behaviors are, comparatively, still lacking. This is likely because they are complex and environmentally sensitive phenotypes, making them difficult to measure reliably for association studies. The Drosophila species complex holds promise for addressing these challenges, as the behaviors of closely related species can be readily assayed in a common environment. Here, we investigate the genetic basis of an evolved behavioral difference, pupation site choice, between Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans. In this study, we demonstrate a significant contribution of the X chromosome to the difference in pupation site choice behavior between these species. Using a panel of X-chromosome deficiencies, we screened the majority of the X chromosome for causal loci and identified two regions associated with this X-effect. We then collect gene disruption and RNAi data supporting a single gene that affects pupation behavior within each region: Fas2 and tilB. Finally, we show that differences in tilB expression correlate with the differences in pupation site choice behavior between species. This evidence associating two genes with differences in a complex, environmentally sensitive behavior represents the first step toward a functional and evolutionary understanding of this behavioral divergence.
      PubDate: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz274
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Asymmetric Distribution of Gene Trees Can Arise under Purifying Selection
           If Differences in Population Size Exist
    • Authors: He C; Liang D, Zhang P, et al.
      Pages: 881 - 892
      Abstract: AbstractIncomplete lineage sorting (ILS) is an important factor that causes gene tree discordance. For gene trees of three species, under neutrality, random mating, and the absence of interspecific gene flow, ILS creates a symmetric distribution of gene trees: the gene tree that accords with the species tree has the highest frequency, and the two discordant trees are equally frequent. If the neutral condition is violated, the impact of ILS may change, altering the gene tree distribution. Here, we show that under purifying selection, even assuming that the fitness effect of mutations is constant throughout the species tree, if differences in population size exist among species, asymmetric distributions of gene trees will arise, which is different from the expectation under neutrality. In extremes, one of the discordant trees rather than the concordant tree becomes the most frequent gene tree. In addition, we found that in a real case, the position of Scandentia relative to Primate and Glires, the symmetry in the gene tree distribution can be influenced by the strength of purifying selection. In current phylogenetic inference, the impact of purifying selection on the gene tree distribution is rarely considered by researchers. This study highlights the necessity of considering this impact.
      PubDate: Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz232
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • A Bayesian Framework for Inferring the Influence of Sequence Context on
           Point Mutations
    • Authors: Ling G; Miller D, Nielsen R, et al.
      Pages: 893 - 903
      Abstract: AbstractThe probability of point mutations is expected to be highly influenced by the flanking nucleotides that surround them, known as the sequence context. This phenomenon may be mainly attributed to the enzyme that modifies or mutates the genetic material, because most enzymes tend to have specific sequence contexts that dictate their activity. Here, we develop a statistical model that allows for the detection and evaluation of the effects of different sequence contexts on mutation rates from deep population sequencing data. This task is computationally challenging, as the complexity of the model increases exponentially as the context size increases. We established our novel Bayesian method based on sparse model selection methods, with the leading assumption that the number of actual sequence contexts that directly influence mutation rates is minuscule compared with the number of possible sequence contexts. We show that our method is highly accurate on simulated data using pentanucleotide contexts, even when accounting for noisy data. We next analyze empirical population sequencing data from polioviruses and HIV-1 and detect a significant enrichment in sequence contexts associated with deamination by the cellular deaminases ADAR 1/2 and APOBEC3G, respectively. In the current era, where next-generation sequencing data are highly abundant, our approach can be used on any population sequencing data to reveal context-dependent base alterations and may assist in the discovery of novel mutable sites or editing sites.
      PubDate: Tue, 05 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz248
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Optimizing Phylogenomics with Rapidly Evolving Long Exons: Comparison with
           Anchored Hybrid Enrichment and Ultraconserved Elements
    • Authors: Karin B; Gamble T, Jackman T, et al.
      Pages: 904 - 922
      Abstract: AbstractMarker selection has emerged as an important component of phylogenomic study design due to rising concerns of the effects of gene tree estimation error, model misspecification, and data-type differences. Researchers must balance various trade-offs associated with locus length and evolutionary rate among other factors. The most commonly used reduced representation data sets for phylogenomics are ultraconserved elements (UCEs) and Anchored Hybrid Enrichment (AHE). Here, we introduce Rapidly Evolving Long Exon Capture (RELEC), a new set of loci that targets single exons that are both rapidly evolving (evolutionary rate faster than RAG1) and relatively long in length (>1,500 bp), while at the same time avoiding paralogy issues across amniotes. We compare the RELEC data set to UCEs and AHE in squamate reptiles by aligning and analyzing orthologous sequences from 17 squamate genomes, composed of 10 snakes and 7 lizards. The RELEC data set (179 loci) outperforms AHE and UCEs by maximizing per-locus genetic variation while maintaining presence and orthology across a range of evolutionary scales. RELEC markers show higher phylogenetic informativeness than UCE and AHE loci, and RELEC gene trees show greater similarity to the species tree than AHE or UCE gene trees. Furthermore, with fewer loci, RELEC remains computationally tractable for full Bayesian coalescent species tree analyses. We contrast RELEC to and discuss important aspects of comparable methods, and demonstrate how RELEC may be the most effective set of loci for resolving difficult nodes and rapid radiations. We provide several resources for capturing or extracting RELEC loci from other amniote groups.
      PubDate: Sat, 09 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz263
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Unbiased Estimation of Linkage Disequilibrium from Unphased Data
    • Authors: Ragsdale A; Gravel S, Kim Y.
      Pages: 923 - 932
      Abstract: AbstractLinkage disequilibrium (LD) is used to infer evolutionary history, to identify genomic regions under selection, and to dissect the relationship between genotype and phenotype. In each case, we require accurate estimates of LD statistics from sequencing data. Unphased data present a challenge because multilocus haplotypes cannot be inferred exactly. Widely used estimators for the common statistics r2 and D2 exhibit large and variable upward biases that complicate interpretation and comparison across cohorts. Here, we show how to find unbiased estimators for a wide range of two-locus statistics, including D2, for both single and multiple randomly mating populations. These unbiased statistics are particularly well suited to estimate effective population sizes from unlinked loci in small populations. We develop a simple inference pipeline and use it to refine estimates of recent effective population sizes of the threatened Channel Island Fox populations.
      PubDate: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz265
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
  • Estimating Pangenomes with Roary
    • Authors: Sitto F; Battistuzzi F, Hall B.
      Pages: 933 - 939
      Abstract: AbstractA description of the genetic makeup of a species based on a single genome is often insufficient because it ignores the variability in gene repertoire among multiple strains. The estimation of the pangenome of a species is a solution to this issue as it provides an overview of genes that are shared by all strains and genes that are present in only some of the genomes. These different sets of genes can then be analyzed functionally to explore correlations with unique phenotypes and adaptations. This protocol presents the usage of Roary, a Linux-native pangenome application. Roary is a straightforward software that provides 1) an overview about core and accessory genes for those interested in general trends and, also, 2) detailed information on gene presence/absence in each genome for in-depth analyses. Results are provided both in text and graphic format.
      PubDate: Tue, 17 Dec 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msz284
      Issue No: Vol. 37, No. 3 (2019)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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