Feb 9, 2010

Genomic hotspots for adaptation: the population genetics of Müllerian mimicry in Heliconius erato

PLoS Genetics
Brian A CountermanW O McMillan

Abstract

Wing pattern evolution in Heliconius butterflies provides some of the most striking examples of adaptation by natural selection. The genes controlling pattern variation are classic examples of Mendelian loci of large effect, where allelic variation causes large and discrete phenotypic changes and is responsible for both convergent and highly divergent wing pattern evolution across the genus. We characterize nucleotide variation, genotype-by-phenotype associations, linkage disequilibrium (LD), and candidate gene expression patterns across two unlinked genomic intervals that control yellow and red wing pattern variation among mimetic forms of Heliconius erato. Despite very strong natural selection on color pattern, we see neither a strong reduction in genetic diversity nor evidence for extended LD across either patterning interval. This observation highlights the extent that recombination can erase the signature of selection in natural populations and is consistent with the hypothesis that either the adaptive radiation or the alleles controlling it are quite old. However, across both patterning intervals we identified SNPs clustered in several coding regions that were strongly associated with color pattern phenotype. Interestingl...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen 2
Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
Apis mellifera
Patterns
Dimethyl Sulfoxide
Genome
Genes
Valine
G-Protein-Coupled Receptors

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