Exploring neutral and adaptive processes in expanding populations of gilthead sea bream, Sparus aurata L., in the North-East Atlantic

TitleExploring neutral and adaptive processes in expanding populations of gilthead sea bream, Sparus aurata L., in the North-East Atlantic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsCoscia, I, Vogiatzi E, Kotoulas G, Tsigenopoulos CS, Mariani S
JournalHeredity
Volume108
Issue5
Pages537 - 546
KeywordsESTs, marine fish, microsatellites, mitochondrial DNA, Natural selection, population structure
Abstract

Recent studies in empirical population genetics have highlighted the importance of taking into account both neutral and adaptive genetic variation in characterizing microevolutionary dynamics. Here, we explore the genetic population structure and the footprints of selection in four populations of the warm-temperate coastal fish, the gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata), whose recent northward expansion has been linked to climate change. Samples were collected at four Atlantic locations, including Spain, Portugal, France and the South of Ireland, and genetically assayed using a suite of species-specific markers, including 15 putatively neutral microsatellites and 23 expressed sequence tag-linked markers, as well as a portion of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region. Two of the putatively neutral markers, Bld-10 and Ad-10, bore signatures of strong directional selection, particularly in the newly established Irish population, although the potential surfing effect of rare alleles at the edge of the expansion front was also considered. Analyses after the removal of these loci suggest low but significant population structure likely affected by some degree of gene flow counteracting random genetic drift. No signal of historic divergence was detected at mtDNA. BLAST searches conducted with all 38 markers used failed to identify specific genomic regions associated to adaptive functions. However, the availability of genomic resources for this commercially valuable species is rapidly increasing, bringing us closer to the understanding of the interplay between selective and neutral evolutionary forces, shaping population divergence of an expanding species in a heterogeneous milieu. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

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