153 research outputs found

    Evolution of Protein Expression: New Genes for a New Diet

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    SummaryA new study identifies gene duplication of a salivary enzyme as a recent adaptation to changes in diet among human populations, highlighting the diverse ways that gene regulation can evolve


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    On the Prospect of Identifying Adaptive Loci in Recently Bottlenecked Populations

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    Identifying adaptively important loci in recently bottlenecked populations – be it natural selection acting on a population following the colonization of novel habitats in the wild, or artificial selection during the domestication of a breed – remains a major challenge. Here we report the results of a simulation study examining the performance of available population-genetic tools for identifying genomic regions under selection. To illustrate our findings, we examined the interplay between selection and demography in two species of Peromyscus mice, for which we have independent evidence of selection acting on phenotype as well as functional evidence identifying the underlying genotype. With this unusual information, we tested whether population-genetic-based approaches could have been utilized to identify the adaptive locus. Contrary to published claims, we conclude that the use of the background site frequency spectrum as a null model is largely ineffective in bottlenecked populations. Results are quantified both for site frequency spectrum and linkage disequilibrium-based predictions, and are found to hold true across a large parameter space that encompasses many species and populations currently under study. These results suggest that the genomic footprint left by selection on both new and standing variation in strongly bottlenecked populations will be difficult, if not impossible, to find using current approaches

    Population structure and plumage polymorphism: The intraspecific evolutionary relationships of a polymorphic raptor, Buteo jamaicensis harlani

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Phenotypic and molecular genetic data often provide conflicting patterns of intraspecific relationships confounding phylogenetic inference, particularly among birds where a variety of environmental factors may influence plumage characters. Among diurnal raptors, the taxonomic relationship of <it>Buteo jamaicensis harlani </it>to other <it>B. jamaicensis </it>subspecies has been long debated because of the polytypic nature of the plumage characteristics used in subspecies or species designations.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>To address the evolutionary relationships within this group, we used data from 17 nuclear microsatellite loci, 430 base pairs of the mitochondrial control region, and 829 base pairs of the melanocortin 1 receptor (<it>Mc1r</it>) to investigate molecular genetic differentiation among three <it>B. jamaicensis </it>subspecies (<it>B. j. borealis</it>, <it>B. j. calurus</it>, <it>B. j. harlani</it>). Bayesian clustering analyses of nuclear microsatellite loci showed no significant differences between <it>B. j. harlani </it>and <it>B. j. borealis</it>. Differences observed between <it>B. j. harlani </it>and <it>B. j. borealis </it>in mitochondrial and microsatellite data were equivalent to those found between morphologically similar subspecies, <it>B. j. borealis </it>and <it>B. j. calurus</it>, and estimates of migration rates among all three subspecies were high. No consistent differences were observed in <it>Mc1r </it>data between <it>B. j. harlani </it>and other <it>B. jamaicensis </it>subspecies or between light and dark color morphs within <it>B. j. calurus</it>, suggesting that <it>Mc1r </it>does not play a significant role in <it>B. jamaicensis </it>melanism.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>These data suggest recent interbreeding and gene flow between <it>B. j. harlani </it>and the other <it>B. jamaicensis </it>subspecies examined, providing no support for the historical designation of <it>B. j. harlani </it>as a distinct species.</p