University of Cambridge > > Genetics Seminar  > Comparative population genomics in animals: genetic diversity, adaptive rate, species barrier

Comparative population genomics in animals: genetic diversity, adaptive rate, species barrier

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Caroline Newnham.

Host: John Welch

High-throughput sequencing technologies offer the opportunity to investigate molecular variation at the genomic scale in non-model organisms. We have sequenced full mRNA extracts in >400 individuals from >80 taxonomically diverse species of animals with the goal of linking population genomic patterns to species biology and ecology. Three major results will be presented: [1] the genetic diversity of a species is surprisingly well predicted by life-history traits, such as longevity and amount of parental care, with no detectable impact of the geographic range; [2] unlike the efficiency of purifying selection, the rate of adaptive amino-acid evolution is not correlated to species effective population size, suggesting that adaptation is not limited by the supply of new mutations; [3] the ability of two populations/species to effectively exchange migrant is well predicted by the genome-average net molecular divergence, d; the “grey zone” of speciation is as narrow as one order of magnitude of d and includes many semi-isolated gene pools, between which gene flow is restricted to a portion of the genome. The implications of these results for molecular evolutionary and conservation genetic research will be discussed.


[1] Romiguier J., Gayral P., Ballenghien M., Bernard A., Cahais V., Chenuil A., Chiari Y., Dernat R., Duret L., Faivre N., Loire E., Lourenco J.M., Nabholz B., Roux C., Tsagkogeorga G., Weber A., Weinert L.A., Belkhir K., Bierne N., Glémin S. & Galtier N. 2014. Comparative population genomics in animals uncovers the determinants of genetic diversity. Nature 515:261-263.

[2] Galtier N. 2016. Adaptive protein evolution in animals and the effective population size hypothesis. PLoS Genetics 12:e1005774.

[3] Roux C., Fraisse C., Romiguier J., Anciaux Y. , Galtier N., Bierne N. 2016. Shedding light on the grey zone of speciation along a continuum of genomic divergence. PLoS Biology 14: e2000234.

This talk is part of the Genetics Seminar series.

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