Relaxed Selection
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Gerald P. Maeda ◽  
Mariangela Iannello ◽  
Hunter J. McConie ◽  
Fabrizio Ghiselli ◽  
Justin C. Havird

2021 ◽  
Viraj Muthye ◽  
Cameron D. Mackereth ◽  
James B. Stewart ◽  
Dennis V. Lavrov

AbstractAll studied octocoral mitochondrial genomes contain a gene from the MutS family, whose members code for proteins involved in DNA mismatch repair, other types of DNA repair, meiotic recombination, and other functions. Although mutS homologues are found in all domains of life as well as viruses, octocoral mt-mutS is the only such gene encoded in an organellar genome. While the function of mtMutS is not known, its domain architecture, conserved sequence, and presence of some characteristic residues suggest its involvement in mitochondrial DNA repair. This inference is supported by exceptionally low rates of mt-sequence evolution observed in octocorals. Previous studies of mt-mutS have been limited by the small number of octocoral mt-genomes available. We utilized sequence-capture data from the recent Quattrini et al. study to assemble complete mitochondrial genomes for 97 species of octocorals. Combined with sequences publicly available in GenBank, this resulted in a dataset of 184 complete mitochondrial genomes, which we used to re-analyze the conservation and evolution of mt-mutS. We discovered the first case of mt-mutS loss among octocorals in one of the two Pseudoanthomastus sp. assembled from Quattrini et al. data. This species displayed accelerated rate and and changed patterns of nucleotide substitutions in mt-genome, which we argue provide additional evidence for the role of mtMutS in DNA repair. In addition, we found accelerated mt-sequence evolution in the presence of mt-mutS in several octocoral lineages. This accelerated evolution did not appear to be the result of relaxed selection pressure and did not entail changes in patterns of nucleotide substitutions. Overall, our results support previously reported patterns of conservation in mt-mutS and suggest that mtMutS is involved in DNA repair in octocoral mitochondria. They also indicate that the presence of mt-mutS contributes to, but does not fully explain, the low rates of sequence evolution in octocorals

2021 ◽  
Cui Wang ◽  
Lele Liu ◽  
Meiqi Yin ◽  
Franziska Eller ◽  
Hans Brix ◽  

Polyploidization is a common event in plant evolution, and it plays an important role in plant speciation and adaptation. To address the role of polyploidization in grass diversification, we studied Phragmites australis, a species with intraspecific variation of chromosome numbers ranging from 2n=36 to 144. A combined analysis of genome structure, phylogeny and population genetics were used to study the evolution of P. australis. Whole-genome sequencing of three representative lineages revealed the allopolyploid origin of the species, with subgenome divergence dating back to approximately 29 million years ago, and the genomes showed hallmarks of relaxed selection associated with asexual propagation. Genome-wide analysis of 88 individuals from different populations around the world using restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) identified seven main intraspecific lineages with extensive genetic admixture. Each lineage was dominated by a distinct ploidy level, mostly tetraploid or octoploid, suggesting several polyploid events. Furthermore, we observed octoploid and hexaploid lineages at contact zones in Romania, Hungary and South Africa, suggestively due to genomic conflicts of allotetraploid parental lineages. Polyploidy may have evolved as a strategy to escape from the evolutionary dead-end of asexual propagation and the resulting decrease in genomic plasticity.

PeerJ ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 9 ◽  
pp. e12106
Mikhail I. Schelkunov ◽  
Maxim S. Nuraliev ◽  
Maria D. Logacheva

The plant family Balanophoraceae consists entirely of species that have lost the ability to photosynthesize. Instead, they obtain nutrients by parasitizing other plants. Recent studies have revealed that plastid genomes of Balanophoraceae exhibit a number of interesting features, one of the most prominent of those being a highly elevated AT content of nearly 90%. Additionally, the nucleotide substitution rate in the plastid genomes of Balanophoraceae is an order of magnitude greater than that of their photosynthetic relatives without signs of relaxed selection. Currently, there are no definitive explanations for these features. Given these unusual features, we hypothesised that the nuclear genomes of Balanophoraceae may also provide valuable information in regard to understanding the evolution of non-photosynthetic plants. To gain insight into these genomes, in the present study we analysed the transcriptomes of two Balanophoraceae species (Rhopalocnemis phalloides and Balanophora fungosa) and compared them to the transcriptomes of their close photosynthetic relatives (Daenikera sp., Dendropemon caribaeus, and Malania oleifera). Our analysis revealed that the AT content of the nuclear genes of Balanophoraceae did not markedly differ from that of the photosynthetic relatives. The nucleotide substitution rate in the genes of Balanophoraceae is, for an unknown reason, several-fold larger than in the genes of photosynthetic Santalales; however, the negative selection in Balanophoraceae is likely stronger. We observed an extensive loss of photosynthesis-related genes in the Balanophoraceae family members. Additionally, we did not observe transcripts of several genes whose products function in plastid genome repair. This implies their loss or very low expression, which may explain the increased nucleotide substitution rate and AT content of the plastid genomes.

PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (8) ◽  
pp. e1009770
Si Si ◽  
Xiao Xu ◽  
Yan Zhuang ◽  
Xiaodong Gao ◽  
Honghai Zhang ◽  

The eye color of birds, generally referring to the color of the iris, results from both pigmentation and structural coloration. Avian iris colors exhibit striking interspecific and intraspecific variations that correspond to unique evolutionary and ecological histories. Here, we identified the genetic basis of pearl (white) iris color in domestic pigeons (Columba livia) to explore the largely unknown genetic mechanism underlying the evolution of avian iris coloration. Using a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 92 pigeons, we mapped the pearl iris trait to a 9 kb region containing the facilitative glucose transporter gene SLC2A11B. A nonsense mutation (W49X) leading to a premature stop codon in SLC2A11B was identified as the causal variant. Transcriptome analysis suggested that SLC2A11B loss of function may downregulate the xanthophore-differentiation gene CSF1R and the key pteridine biosynthesis gene GCH1, thus resulting in the pearl iris phenotype. Coalescence and phylogenetic analyses indicated that the mutation originated approximately 5,400 years ago, coinciding with the onset of pigeon domestication, while positive selection was likely associated with artificial breeding. Within Aves, potentially impaired SLC2A11B was found in six species from six distinct lineages, four of which associated with their signature brown or blue eyes. Analysis of vertebrate SLC2A11B orthologs revealed relaxed selection in the avian clade, consistent with the scenario that during and after avian divergence from the reptilian ancestor, the SLC2A11B-involved development of dermal chromatophores likely degenerated in the presence of feather coverage. Our findings provide new insight into the mechanism of avian iris color variations and the evolution of pigmentation in vertebrates.

2021 ◽  
Vol 288 (1957) ◽  
pp. 20211585
Stefano Bettinazzi ◽  
Liliana Milani ◽  
Pierre U. Blier ◽  
Sophie Breton

Doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI) represents a notable exception to the general rule of strict maternal inheritance (SMI) of mitochondria in metazoans. This system entails the coexistence of two mitochondrial lineages (F- and M-type) transmitted separately through oocytes and sperm, thence providing an unprecedented opportunity for the mitochondrial genome to evolve adaptively for male functions. In this study, we explored the impact of a sex-specific mitochondrial evolution upon gamete bioenergetics of DUI and SMI bivalve species, comparing the activity of key enzymes of glycolysis, fermentation, fatty acid metabolism, tricarboxylic acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation and antioxidant metabolism. Our findings suggest reorganized bioenergetic pathways in DUI gametes compared to SMI gametes. This generally results in a decreased enzymatic capacity in DUI sperm with respect to DUI oocytes, a limitation especially prominent at the terminus of the electron transport system. This bioenergetic remodelling fits a reproductive strategy that does not require high energy input and could potentially link with the preservation of the paternally transmitted mitochondrial genome in DUI species. Whether this phenotype may derive from positive or relaxed selection acting on DUI sperm is still uncertain.

2021 ◽  
Vol 8 (1) ◽  
Shi-Ping Cheng ◽  
Kai-Hua Jia ◽  
Hui Liu ◽  
Ren-Gang Zhang ◽  
Zhi-Chao Li ◽  

AbstractGinger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the most valued spice plants worldwide; it is prized for its culinary and folk medicinal applications and is therefore of high economic and cultural importance. Here, we present a haplotype-resolved, chromosome-scale assembly for diploid ginger anchored to 11 pseudochromosome pairs with a total length of 3.1 Gb. Remarkable structural variation was identified between haplotypes, and two inversions larger than 15 Mb on chromosome 4 may be associated with ginger infertility. We performed a comprehensive, spatiotemporal, genome-wide analysis of allelic expression patterns, revealing that most alleles are coordinately expressed. The alleles that exhibited the largest differences in expression showed closer proximity to transposable elements, greater coding sequence divergence, more relaxed selection pressure, and more transcription factor binding site differences. We also predicted the transcription factors potentially regulating 6-gingerol biosynthesis. Our allele-aware assembly provides a powerful platform for future functional genomics, molecular breeding, and genome editing in ginger.

2021 ◽  
Vol 102 (7) ◽  
Catherine D. Aimone ◽  
Erik Lavington ◽  
J. Steen Hoyer ◽  
David O. Deppong ◽  
Leigh Mickelson-Young ◽  

Cassava mosaic disease (CMD) represents a serious threat to cassava, a major root crop for more than 300 million Africans. CMD is caused by single-stranded DNA begomoviruses that evolve rapidly, making it challenging to develop durable disease resistance. In addition to the evolutionary forces of mutation, recombination and reassortment, factors such as climate, agriculture practices and the presence of DNA satellites may impact viral diversity. To gain insight into the factors that alter and shape viral diversity in planta, we used high-throughput sequencing to characterize the accumulation of nucleotide diversity after inoculation of infectious clones corresponding to African cassava mosaic virus (ACMV) and East African cassava mosaic Cameroon virus (EACMCV) in the susceptible cassava landrace Kibandameno. We found that vegetative propagation had a significant effect on viral nucleotide diversity, while temperature and a satellite DNA did not have measurable impacts in our study. EACMCV diversity increased linearly with the number of vegetative propagation passages, while ACMV diversity increased for a time and then decreased in later passages. We observed a substitution bias toward C→T and G→A for mutations in the viral genomes consistent with field isolates. Non-coding regions excluding the promoter regions of genes showed the highest levels of nucleotide diversity for each genome component. Changes in the 5′ intergenic region of DNA-A resembled the sequence of the cognate DNA-B sequence. The majority of nucleotide changes in coding regions were non-synonymous, most with predicted deleterious effects on protein structure, indicative of relaxed selection pressure over six vegetative passages. Overall, these results underscore the importance of knowing how cropping practices affect viral evolution and disease progression.

2021 ◽  
pp. 1-18
Jordan A. Greer ◽  
Corrie S. Moreau

Abstract Most ant species have lost the ability to spin cocoons. To explore the evolution of cocoon loss within Formicidae, we perform an ancestral state reconstruction of cocooned pupae across a genus-level phylogeny and use a sister clade analysis to determine the impact of cocoon evolution on ant speciation. Then, we fit models of correlated evolution between cocoon status and several other organismal traits. We find that the re-emergence of cocoons is rare and that “naked” lineages display an increased rate of speciation in 5 out of 9 sister group comparisons. Models of correlated evolution with cocoon status were favored for metapleural gland and worker polymorphism. Metapleural gland favored rates of evolution were inconclusive, while worker polymorphism displayed a higher transition rate towards polymorphism coupled with cocoon loss. These results suggest that cocoon loss may allow for other complex traits to develop and may represent a novel example of relaxed selection.

2021 ◽  
Vol 1 ◽  
pp. 75
Christopher A. Emerling ◽  
Mark S. Springer ◽  
John Gatesy ◽  
Zachary Jones ◽  
Deana Hamilton ◽  

Background: The study of regressive evolution has yielded a wealth of examples where the underlying genes bear molecular signatures of trait degradation, such as pseudogenization or deletion. Typically, it appears that such disrupted genes are limited to the function of the regressed trait, whereas pleiotropic genes tend to be maintained by natural selection to support their myriad purposes. One such set of genes is involved in the synthesis (AANAT, ASMT) and signaling (MTNR1A, MTNR1B) of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the vertebrate pineal gland. Melatonin provides a signal of environmental darkness, thereby influencing the circadian and circannual rhythmicity of numerous physiological traits. Therefore, the complete loss of a pineal gland and the underlying melatonin pathway genes seems likely to be maladaptive, unless compensated by extrapineal sources of melatonin. Methods: We examined AANAT, ASMT, MTNR1A and MTNR1B in 123 vertebrate species, including pineal-less placental mammals and crocodylians. We searched for inactivating mutations and modelled selective pressures (dN/dS) to test whether the genes remain functionally intact. Results: We report that crocodylians retain intact melatonin genes and express AANAT and ASMT in their eyes, whereas all four genes have been repeatedly inactivated in the pineal-less xenarthrans, pangolins, sirenians, and whales. Furthermore, colugos have lost these genes, and several lineages of subterranean mammals have partial melatonin pathway dysfunction. These results are supported by the presence of shared inactivating mutations across clades and analyses of selection pressure based on the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions (dN/dS), suggesting extended periods of relaxed selection on these genes. Conclusions: The losses of melatonin synthesis and signaling dates to tens of millions of years ago in several lineages of placental mammals, raising questions about the evolutionary resilience of pleiotropic genes, and the causes and consequences of losing melatonin pathways in these species.

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