evolutionary dynamics
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2022 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Yushuai Wang ◽  
Aimei Dai ◽  
Tian Tang

Transposable elements (TEs) are an important source of genetic diversity and can be co-opted for the regulation of host genes. However, to what extent the pervasive TE colonization of plant genomes has contributed to stress adaptation remains controversial. Plants inhabiting harsh environments in nature provide a unique opportunity to answer this question. We compared TE compositions and their evolutionary dynamics in the genomes of two mangrove species: the pioneer Sonneratia alba and its less salt-tolerant relative S. caseolaris. Age distribution, strength of purifying selection and the removal rate of LTR (long terminal repeat) retrotransposons were estimated. Phylogenetic analysis of LTR retrotransposons and their distribution in the genome of S. alba were surveyed. Small RNA sequencing and whole-genome bisulfite sequencing was conducted using leaves of S. alba. Expression pattern of LTR retrotransposons and their nearby genes were examined using RNA-seq data of S. alba under different salt treatments. S. alba possesses more TEs than S. caseolaris. Particularly, many more young Gypsy LTR retrotransposons have accumulated in S. alba than in S. caseolaris despite an increase in purifying selection against TE insertions. The top two most abundant Gypsy families in S. alba preferentially insert in gene-poor regions. They are under relaxed epigenetic repression, probably due to the presence of CHROMO domains in their 3′-ends. Although a considerable number of TEs in S. alba showed differential expression under salt stress, only four copies were significantly correlated with their nearby genes in expression levels. One such TE-gene pair involves Abscisic acid 8'-hydroxylase 3 functioning in abscisic acid catabolism. This study sheds light on the evolutionary dynamics and potential function of TEs in an extremophile. Our results suggest that the conclusion on co-option of TEs should be cautious even though activation of TEs by stress might be prevalent.

2022 ◽  
Vol 8 ◽  
Eric Aaron ◽  
Joshua Hawthorne-Madell ◽  
Ken Livingston ◽  
John H. Long

To fully understand the evolution of complex morphologies, analyses cannot stop at selection: It is essential to investigate the roles and interactions of multiple processes that drive evolutionary outcomes. The challenges of undertaking such analyses have affected both evolutionary biologists and evolutionary roboticists, with their common interests in complex morphologies. In this paper, we present analytical techniques from evolutionary biology, selection gradient analysis and morphospace walks, and we demonstrate their applicability to robot morphologies in analyses of three evolutionary mechanisms: randomness (genetic mutation), development (an explicitly implemented genotype-to-phenotype map), and selection. In particular, we applied these analytical techniques to evolved populations of simulated biorobots—embodied robots designed specifically as models of biological systems, for the testing of biological hypotheses—and we present a variety of results, including analyses that do all of the following: illuminate different evolutionary dynamics for different classes of morphological traits; illustrate how the traits targeted by selection can vary based on the likelihood of random genetic mutation; demonstrate that selection on two selected sets of morphological traits only partially explains the variance in fitness in our biorobots; and suggest that biases in developmental processes could partially explain evolutionary dynamics of morphology. When combined, the complementary analytical approaches discussed in this paper can enable insight into evolutionary processes beyond selection and thereby deepen our understanding of the evolution of robotic morphologies.

2022 ◽  
Maxime Dahirel ◽  
Chloe Guicharnaud ◽  
Elodie Vercken

Ecological and evolutionary dynamics of range expansions are shaped by both dispersal and population growth. Accordingly, density-dependence in either dispersal or growth can determine whether expansions are pulled or pushed, i.e. whether expansion velocities and genetic diversity are mainly driven by recent, low-density edge populations, or by older populations closer to the core. Despite this and despite abundant evidence of dispersal evolution during expansions, the impact of density-dependent dispersal and its evolution on expansion dynamics remains understudied. Here, we used simulation models to examine the influence of individual trait variation in both dispersal capacity and dispersal density-dependence on expansions, and how it impacts the position of expansions on the pulled-pushed continuum. First, we found that knowing about the evolution of density-dependent dispersal at the range edge can greatly improve our ability to predict whether an expansion is (more) pushed or (more) pulled. Second, we found that both dispersal costs and the sources of variation in dispersal (genetic or non-genetic, in dispersal capacity versus in density-dependence) greatly influence how expansion dynamics evolve. Among other scenarios, pushed expansions tended to become more pulled with time only when density-dependence was highly heritable, dispersal costs were low and dispersal capacity could not evolve. When, on the other hand, variation in density-dependence had no genetic basis, but dispersal capacity could evolve, then pushed expansions tended to become more pushed with time, and pulled expansions more pulled. More generally, our results show that trying to predict expansion velocities and dynamics using trait information from non-expanding regions only may be problematic, that both dispersal variation and its sources play a key role in determining whether an expansion is and stays pushed, and that environmental context (here dispersal costs) cannot be neglected. Those simulations suggest new avenues of research to explore, both in terms of theoretical studies and regarding ways to empirically study pushed vs. pulled range expansions.

2022 ◽  
Cameron A Smith ◽  
Ben Ashby

The apparent lack of antigenic evolution by the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) of SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic is puzzling. The combination of increasing immune pressure due to the rollout of vaccines and a relatively high number of infections following the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions should have created perfect conditions for immune escape variants to evolve from the Delta lineage. Instead, the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), which is hypothesised to have evolved in an immunocompromised individual, is the first major variant to exhibit significant immune escape following vaccination programmes and is set to become globally dominant in 2022. Here, we use a simple mathematical model to explore possible reasons why the Delta lineage did not exhibit antigenic evolution and to understand how and when immunocompromised individuals affect the emergence of immune escape variants. We show that when the pathogen does not have to cross a fitness valley for immune escape to occur, immunocompromised individuals have no qualitative effect on antigenic evolution (although they may accelerate immune escape if within-host evolutionary dynamics are faster in immunocompromised individuals). But if a fitness valley exists between immune escape variants at the between-host level, then persistent infections of immunocompromised individuals allow mutations to accumulate, therefore facilitating rather than simply speeding up antigenic evolution. Our results suggest that better global health equality, including improving access to vaccines and treatments for individuals who are immunocompromised (especially in lower- and middle-income countries), may be crucial to preventing the emergence of future immune escape variants of SARS-CoV-2.

2022 ◽  
Guanhua Xuan ◽  
Hong Lin ◽  
Jingxue Wang

There is a continuously expanding gap between predicted phage gene sequences and their corresponding functions, which largely hampered the development of phage therapy. Previous studies reported several phage proteins that could interfere with the intracellular processes of the host to obtain efficient infection. But few phage proteins that protect host against phage infection has been identified and characterized in detail. Here, we isolate a phage vB_Pae_QDWS capable of infecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, and report its encoded Gp21 protein protects PAO1 against phage infection. Expressing of Gp21 regulate bacterial quorum sensing with an inhibitory effect in low cell density and activation effect in high cell density. By testing the TFPs-mediated twitching motility and transmission electron microscopy analysis, Gp21 was found decreased the pilus synthesis. Further constructing the TFPs synthesis gene pilB mutant and performing adsorption and phage resistance assay, we demonstrated Gp21 protein could block phage infection via decreasing the TFPs-mediated phage adsorption. Gp21 is a novel protein that inhibit phage efficacy against bacteria. The study deepens our understanding of phage-host interactions. Importance The majority of the annotated phage genes are currently deposited as “hypothetical protein” with unknown function. Researches revealed that some phage proteins serve to inhibit or redirect the host intracellular processes for phage infection. Differently, we report a phage encoded protein Gp21 that protect the host against phage infection. The pathways that Gp21 involved in anti-phage defense in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 are interfering with quorum sensing and decreasing the type IV pilus-mediated phage adsorption. Gp21 is a novel protein with a low sequence homology with other reported twitching inhibitory proteins. As a lytic phage derived protein, Gp21 expression protects P. aeruginosa PAO1 from reinfection by phage vB_Pae_QDWS, which may explain the well-known pseudolysogeny caused by virulent phages. Our discoveries provide valuable new insight into the phage-host evolutionary dynamics.

2022 ◽  
Alex Dornburg ◽  
Katerina Zapfe ◽  
Rachel Williams ◽  
Michael Alfaro ◽  
Richard Morris ◽  

Across the Tree of Life, most studies of phenotypic disparity and diversification have been restricted to adult organisms. However, many lineages have distinct ontogenetic phases that do not reflect the same traits as their adult forms. Non-adult disparity patterns are particularly important to consider for coastal ray-finned fishes, which often have juvenile phases with distinct phenotypes. These juvenile forms are often associated with sheltered nursery environments, with phenotypic shifts between adults and juvenile stages that are readily apparent in locomotor morphology. However, whether this ontogenetic variation in locomotor morphology reflects a decoupling of diversification dynamics between life stages remains unknown. Here we investigate the evolutionary dynamics of locomotor morphology between adult and juvenile triggerfishes. Integrating a time-calibrated phylogenetic framework with geometric morphometric approaches and measurement data of fin aspect ratio and incidence, we reveal a mismatch between morphospace occupancy, the evolution of morphological disparity, and the tempo of trait evolution between life stages. Collectively, our results illuminate how the heterogeneity of morpho-functional adaptations can decouple the mode and tempo of morphological diversification between ontogenetic stages.

mSystems ◽  
2022 ◽  
Alejandro Palomo ◽  
Arnaud Dechesne ◽  
Otto X. Cordero ◽  
Barth F. Smets

Microbial species interact with each other and their environment (ecological processes) and undergo changes in their genomic repertoire over time (evolutionary processes). How these two classes of processes interact is largely unknown, especially for complex communities, as most studies of microbial evolutionary dynamics consider single species in isolation or a few interacting species in simplified experimental systems.

Johannes Wessely ◽  
Andreas Gattringer ◽  
Frédéric Guillaume ◽  
Karl Hülber ◽  
Günther Klonner ◽  

AbstractModelling of climate-driven range shifts commonly treats species as ecologically homogeneous units. However, many species show intraspecific variation of climatic niches and theory predicts that such variation may lead to counterintuitive eco-evolutionary dynamics. Here, we incorporate assumed intraspecific niche variation into a dynamic range model and explore possible consequences for six high-mountain plant species of the European Alps under scenarios of twenty-first century climate warming. At the species level, the results indicate massive range loss independent of intraspecific variation. At the intraspecific level, the model predicts a decrease in the frequency of warm-adapted haplotypes in five species. The latter effect is probably driven by a combination of leading-edge colonization and priority effects within the species’ elevational range and was weakest when leading-edge expansion was constrained by mountain topography The resulting maladaptation may additionally increase the risk that alpine plants face from shrinkage of their ranges in a warming climate.

2022 ◽  
Vol ahead-of-print (ahead-of-print) ◽  
Alessandro Melis ◽  
Jose Antonio Lara-Hernandez ◽  
Barbora Melis

PurposeThis paper highlights the importance of transdisciplinary studies in times of crisis. In the first part, the study shows the benefits of the introduction of literature on biology to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of architecture.Design/methodology/approachThe focus of the research concerns architectural exaptation. In biology, exaptation is a functional shift of a structure that already had a prior but different function. We will also learn that, in biology, all creative systems are redundant and involve variability and diversity.FindingsAs a conclusion, through the comparison between biology and architecture, we will, therefore, try to build an architectural taxonomy that demonstrates how indeterminism is not a subcategory of design. Instead, design paradigms in which redundancy and variable diversity of structures reflect functionalism constitute an equivalent and essential complement with respect to design determinism.Originality/valueIt demonstrates how architectural exaptation, intended as an indeterministic and radical mode of design, can contribute to overcoming the current global crisis because structural redundancy is frequently functional, mostly in ever-changing and unstable environments. For instance, the failure of a planned function of a city can be an opportunity to re-use a structure designed for an obsolete function to respond to unexpected constraints.

2022 ◽  
Katrina A Lythgoe ◽  
Tanya Golubchik ◽  
Matthew Hall ◽  
Thomas House ◽  
George MacIntyre-Cockett ◽  

The Office for National Statistics COVID-19 Infection Survey is a large household-based surveillance study based in the United Kingdom. Here, we report on the epidemiological and evolutionary dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 determined by analysing sequenced samples collected up until 13th November 2021. We observed four distinct sweeps or partial-sweeps, by lineages B.1.177, B.1.1.7/Alpha, B.1.617.2/Delta, and finally AY.4.2, a sublineage of B.1.617.2, with each sweeping lineage having a distinct growth advantage compared to their predecessors. Evolution was characterised by steady rates of evolution and increasing diversity within lineages, but with step increases in divergence associated with each sweeping major lineage, leading to a faster overall rate of evolution and fluctuating levels of diversity. These observations highlight the value of viral sequencing integrated into community surveillance studies to monitor the viral epidemiology and evolution of SARS-CoV-2, and potentially other pathogens, particularly as routine PCR testing is phased out or in settings where large-scale sequencing is not feasible.

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