We estimated the spontaneous mutation rate in Heliconius melpomene by genome sequencing of a pair of parents and 30 of their offspring, based on the ratio of number of de novo heterozygotes to the number of callable site-individuals. We detected nine new mutations, each one affecting a single site in a single offspring. This yields an estimated mutation rate of 2.9 × 10−9 (95% confidence interval, 1.3 × 10−9–5.5 × 10−9), which is similar to recent estimates in Drosophila melanogaster, the only other insect species in which the mutation rate has been directly estimated. We infer that recent effective population size of H. melpomene is about 2 million, a substantially lower value than its census size, suggesting a role for natural selection reducing diversity. We estimate that H. melpomene diverged from its Müllerian comimic H. erato about 6 Ma, a somewhat later date than estimates based on a local molecular clock.
mutation; Heliconius; genome sequencing
Several methods have been proposed to test for introgression across genomes. One method tests for a genome-wide excess of shared derived alleles between taxa using Patterson’s D statistic, but does not establish which loci show such an excess or whether the excess is due to introgression or ancestral population structure. Several recent studies have extended the use of D by applying the statistic to small genomic regions, rather than genome-wide. Here, we use simulations and whole-genome data from Heliconius butterflies to investigate the behavior of D in small genomic regions. We find that D is unreliable in this situation as it gives inflated values when effective population size is low, causing D outliers to cluster in genomic regions of reduced diversity. As an alternative, we propose a related statistic f^d, a modified version of a statistic originally developed to estimate the genome-wide fraction of admixture. f^d is not subject to the same biases as D, and is better at identifying introgressed loci. Finally, we show that both D and f^d outliers tend to cluster in regions of low absolute divergence (dXY), which can confound a recently proposed test for differentiating introgression from shared ancestral variation at individual loci.
ABBA–BABA; gene flow; introgression; population structure; Heliconius; simulation
Next-generation sequencing technologies are making a substantial impact on many areas of biology, including the analysis of genetic diversity in populations. However, genome-scale population genetic studies have been accessible only to well-funded model systems. Restriction-site associated DNA sequencing, a method that samples at reduced complexity across target genomes, promises to deliver high resolution population genomic data—thousands of sequenced markers across many individuals—for any organism at reasonable costs. It has found application in wild populations and non-traditional study species, and promises to become an important technology for ecological population genomics.
RADSeq; population genetics; next-generation sequencing; genetic marker discovery; SNP discovery
genotyping-by-sequencing; next-generation sequencing; RAD-seq; SNP
The left-right asymmetry of snails, including the direction of shell coiling, is determined by the delayed effect of a maternal gene on the chiral twist that takes place during early embryonic cell divisions. Yet, despite being a well-established classical problem, the identity of the gene and the means by which left-right asymmetry is established in snails remain unknown. We here demonstrate the power of new genomic approaches for identification of the chirality gene, “D”. First, heterozygous (Dd) pond snails Lymnaea stagnalis were self-fertilised or backcrossed, and the genotype of more than six thousand offspring inferred, either dextral (DD/Dd) or sinistral (dd). Then, twenty of the offspring were used for Restriction-site-Associated DNA Sequencing (RAD-Seq) to identify anonymous molecular markers that are linked to the chirality locus. A local genetic map was constructed by genotyping three flanking markers in over three thousand snails. The three markers lie either side of the chirality locus, with one very tightly linked (<0.1 cM). Finally, bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) were isolated that contained the three loci. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) of pachytene cells showed that the three BACs tightly cluster on the same bivalent chromosome. Fibre-FISH identified a region of greater that ∼0.4 Mb between two BAC clone markers that must contain D. This work therefore establishes the resources for molecular identification of the chirality gene and the variation that underpins sinistral and dextral coiling. More generally, the results also show that combining genomic technologies, such as RAD-Seq and high resolution FISH, is a robust approach for mapping key loci in non-model systems.
Heliconius butterflies represent a recent radiation of species, in which wing pattern divergence has been implicated in speciation. Several loci that control wing pattern phenotypes have been mapped and two were identified through sequencing. These same gene regions play a role in adaptation across the whole Heliconius radiation. Previous studies of population genetic patterns at these regions have sequenced small amplicons. Here, we use targeted next-generation sequence capture to survey patterns of divergence across these entire regions in divergent geographical races and species of Heliconius. This technique was successful both within and between species for obtaining high coverage of almost all coding regions and sufficient coverage of non-coding regions to perform population genetic analyses. We find major peaks of elevated population differentiation between races across hybrid zones, which indicate regions under strong divergent selection. These ‘islands’ of divergence appear to be more extensive between closely related species, but there is less clear evidence for such islands between more distantly related species at two further points along the ‘speciation continuum’. We also sequence fosmid clones across these regions in different Heliconius melpomene races. We find no major structural rearrangements but many relatively large (greater than 1 kb) insertion/deletion events (including gain/loss of transposable elements) that are variable between races.
Heliconius; colour pattern; divergence; target enrichment; speciation; genomic islands
The evolutionary importance of hybridization and introgression has long been debated1. We used genomic tools to investigate introgression in Heliconius, a rapidly radiating genus of neotropical butterflies widely used in studies of ecology, behaviour, mimicry and speciation2-5 . We sequenced the genome of Heliconius melpomene and compared it with other taxa to investigate chromosomal evolution in Lepidoptera and gene flow among multiple Heliconius species and races. Among 12,657 predicted genes for Heliconius, biologically important expansions of families of chemosensory and Hox genes are particularly noteworthy. Chromosomal organisation has remained broadly conserved since the Cretaceous, when butterflies split from the silkmoth lineage. Using genomic resequencing, we show hybrid exchange of genes between three co-mimics, H. melpomene, H. timareta, and H. elevatus, especially at two genomic regions that control mimicry pattern. Closely related Heliconius species clearly exchange protective colour pattern genes promiscuously, implying a major role for hybridization in adaptive radiation.
Restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-Seq) is a genome complexity reduction technique that facilitates large-scale marker discovery and genotyping by sequencing. Recent applications of RAD-Seq have included linkage and QTL mapping with a particular focus on non-model species. In the current study, we have applied RAD-Seq to two Atlantic salmon families from a commercial breeding program. The offspring from these families were classified into resistant or susceptible based on survival/mortality in an Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) challenge experiment, and putative homozygous resistant or susceptible genotype at a major IPN-resistance QTL. From each family, the genomic DNA of the two heterozygous parents and seven offspring of each IPN phenotype and genotype was digested with the SbfI enzyme and sequenced in multiplexed pools.
Sequence was obtained from approximately 70,000 RAD loci in both families and a filtered set of 6,712 segregating SNPs were identified. Analyses of genome-wide RAD marker segregation patterns in the two families suggested SNP discovery on all 29 Atlantic salmon chromosome pairs, and highlighted the dearth of male recombination. The use of pedigreed samples allowed us to distinguish segregating SNPs from putative paralogous sequence variants resulting from the relatively recent genome duplication of salmonid species. Of the segregating SNPs, 50 were linked to the QTL. A subset of these QTL-linked SNPs were converted to a high-throughput assay and genotyped across large commercial populations of IPNV-challenged salmon fry. Several SNPs showed highly significant linkage and association with resistance to IPN, and population linkage-disequilibrium-based SNP tests for resistance were identified.
We used RAD-Seq to successfully identify and characterise high-density genetic markers in pedigreed aquaculture Atlantic salmon. These results underline the effectiveness of RAD-Seq as a tool for rapid and efficient generation of QTL-targeted and genome-wide marker data in a large complex genome, and its possible utility in farmed animal selection programs.
Atlantic salmon; RAD sequencing; Aquaculture; Infectious pancreatic necrosis; Recombination; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Paralogous sequence variant
The mammalian thalamus relays sensory information from the periphery to the cerebral cortex for cognitive processing via the thalamocortical tract. The thalamocortical tract forms during embryonic development controlled by mechanisms that are not fully understood. β-catenin is a nuclear and cytosolic protein that transduces signals from secreted signaling molecules to regulate both cell motility via the cytoskeleton and gene expression in the nucleus. In this study we tested whether β-catenin is likely to play a role in thalamocortical connectivity by examining its expression and activity in developing thalamic neurons and their axons.
At embryonic day (E)15.5, the time when thalamocortical axonal projections are forming, we found that the thalamus is a site of particularly high β-catenin mRNA and protein expression. As well as being expressed at high levels in thalamic cell bodies, β-catenin protein is enriched in the axons and growth cones of thalamic axons and its growth cone concentration is sensitive to Netrin-1. Using mice carrying the β-catenin reporter BAT-gal we find high levels of reporter activity in the thalamus. Further, Netrin-1 induces BAT-gal reporter expression and upregulates levels of endogenous transcripts encoding β-actin and L1 proteins in cultured thalamic cells. We found that β-catenin mRNA is enriched in thalamic axons and its 3'UTR is phylogenetically conserved and is able to direct heterologous mRNAs along the thalamic axon, where they can be translated.
We provide evidence that β-catenin protein is likely to be an important player in thalamocortcial development. It is abundant both in the nucleus and in the growth cones of post-mitotic thalamic cells during the development of thalamocortical connectivity and β-catenin mRNA is targeted to thalamic axons and growth cones where it could potentially be translated. β-catenin is involved in transducing the Netrin-1 signal to thalamic cells suggesting a mechanism by which Netrin-1 guides thalamocortical development.
β-catenin; Netrin-1; Thalamus; Growth cones; mRNA; BAT-gal
Restriction site-associated DNA Sequencing (RAD-Seq) is an economical and efficient method for SNP discovery and genotyping. As with other sequencing-by-synthesis methods, RAD-Seq produces stochastic count data and requires sensitive analysis to develop or genotype markers accurately. We show that there are several sources of bias specific to RAD-Seq that are not explicitly addressed by current genotyping tools, namely restriction fragment bias, restriction site heterozygosity and PCR GC content bias. We explore the performance of existing analysis tools given these biases and discuss approaches to limiting or handling biases in RAD-Seq data. While these biases need to be taken seriously, we believe RAD loci affected by them can be excluded or processed with relative ease in most cases and that most RAD loci will be accurately genotyped by existing tools.
contig assembly; genotyping by sequencing; population genetics; RAD Sequencing; restriction enzymes
Restriction-site associated DNA (RAD) sequencing is a powerful new method for targeted sequencing across the genomes of many individuals. This approach has broad potential for genetic analysis of non-model organisms including genotype-phenotype association mapping, phylogeography, population genetics and scaffolding genome assemblies through linkage mapping. We constructed a RAD library using genomic DNA from a Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth) backcross that segregated for resistance to the insecticide spinosad. Sequencing of 24 individuals was performed on a single Illumina GAIIx lane (51 base paired-end reads). Taking advantage of the lack of crossing over in homologous chromosomes in female Lepidoptera, 3,177 maternally inherited RAD alleles were assigned to the 31 chromosomes, enabling identification of the spinosad resistance and W/Z sex chromosomes. Paired-end reads for each RAD allele were assembled into contigs and compared to the genome of Bombyx mori (n = 28) using BLAST, revealing 28 homologous matches plus 3 expected fusion/breakage events which account for the difference in chromosome number. A genome-wide linkage map (1292 cM) was inferred with 2,878 segregating RAD alleles inherited from the backcross father, producing chromosome and location specific sequenced RAD markers. Here we have used RAD sequencing to construct a genetic linkage map de novo for an organism that has no previous genome data. Comparative analysis of P. xyloxtella linkage groups with B. mori chromosomes shows for the first time, genetic synteny appears common beyond the Macrolepidoptera. RAD sequencing is a powerful system capable of rapidly generating chromosome specific data for non-model organisms.
Studies on the classic shell colour and banding polymorphism of the land snail Cepaea played a crucial role in establishing the importance of natural selection in maintaining morphological variation. Cepaea is also a pre-eminent model for ecological genetics because the outward colour and banding phenotype is entirely genetically determined, primarily by a ‘supergene’ of at least five loci. Unfortunately, progress in understanding the evolution and maintenance of the Cepaea polymorphism stalled, partly because of a lack of genetic markers. With a view to re-establish Cepaea as a prominent model of molecular ecology, we made six laboratory crosses of Cepaea nemoralis, five of which segregated for shell ground colour (C) and the presence or absence of bands (B). First, scoring of colour and banding in 323 individuals found no recombination between the C and B loci of the supergene. Second, using restriction site–associated DNA sequencing (RAD-Seq) of two parents and 22 offspring, we identified 44 anonymous markers putatively linked to the colour (C) and banding (B) loci. The genotype of eleven of the most promising RAD-Seq markers was independently validated in the same 22 offspring, then up to a further 146 offspring were genotyped. The closest RAD-Seq markers scored are within ∼0.6 centimorgan (cM) of the C-B supergene linkage group, with the combined loci together forming a 35.8 cM linkage map of markers that flank both sides of the Cepaea C-B supergene.
colour polymorphism; Heliconius; RAD-Seq; restriction site–associated DNA sequencing; snail; supergene