The predictability of genomic changes underlying a recent host shift in Melissa blue butterflies

Molecular Ecology
Samridhi ChaturvediZachariah Gompert


Despite accumulating evidence that evolution can be predictable, studies quantifying the predictability of evolution remain rare. Here, we measured the predictability of genome-wide evolutionary changes associated with a recent host shift in the Melissa blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa). We asked whether and to what extent genome-wide patterns of evolutionary change in nature could be predicted (i) by comparisons among instances of repeated evolution and (ii) from SNP × performance associations in a laboratory experiment. We delineated the genetic loci (SNPs) most strongly associated with host use in two L. melissa lineages that colonized alfalfa. Whereas most SNPs were strongly associated with host use in none or one of these lineages, we detected a an approximately twofold excess of SNPs associated with host use in both lineages. Similarly, we found that host-associated SNPs in nature could also be partially predicted from SNP × performance (survival and weight) associations in a laboratory rearing experiment. But the extent of overlap, and thus degree of predictability, was somewhat reduced. Although we were able to predict (to a modest extent) the SNPs most strongly associated with host use in nature (in terms of paralleli...Continue Reading


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