University of Oulu

Venkat Talla, Lucile Soler, Takeshi Kawakami, Vlad Dincă, Roger Vila, Magne Friberg, Christer Wiklund, Niclas Backström, Dissecting the Effects of Selection and Mutation on Genetic Diversity in Three Wood White (Leptidea) Butterfly Species, Genome Biology and Evolution, Volume 11, Issue 10, October 2019, Pages 2875–2886,

Dissecting the effects of selection and mutation on genetic diversity in three wood white (Leptidea) butterfly species

Saved in:
Author: Talla, Venkat1; Soler, Lucile2; Kawakami, Takeshi1;
Organizations: 1Department of Evolutionary Biology , Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC), Uppsala University, Sweden
2Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, National Bioinformatics Infrastructure Sweden (NBIS), Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala, Sweden
3Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu , Finland
4Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), Barcelona, Spain
5Department of Biology, Biodiversity Unit, Lund University , Sweden
6Department of Zoology, Division of Ecology , Stockholm University, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-03-31


The relative role of natural selection and genetic drift in evolution is a major topic of debate in evolutionary biology. Most knowledge spring from a small group of organisms and originate from before it was possible to generate genome-wide data on genetic variation. Hence, it is necessary to extend to a larger number of taxonomic groups, descriptive and hypothesis-based research aiming at understanding the proximate and ultimate mechanisms underlying both levels of genetic polymorphism and the efficiency of natural selection. In this study, we used data from 60 whole-genome resequenced individuals of three cryptic butterfly species (Leptidea sp.), together with novel gene annotation information and population recombination data. We characterized the overall prevalence of natural selection and investigated the effects of mutation and linked selection on regional variation in nucleotide diversity. Our analyses showed that genome-wide diversity and rate of adaptive substitutions were comparatively low, whereas nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphism and substitution levels were comparatively high in Leptidea, suggesting small long-term effective population sizes. Still, negative selection on linked sites (background selection) has resulted in reduced nucleotide diversity in regions with relatively high gene density and low recombination rate. We also found a significant effect of mutation rate variation on levels of polymorphism. Finally, there were considerable population differences in levels of genetic diversity and pervasiveness of selection against slightly deleterious alleles, in line with expectations from differences in estimated effective population sizes.

see all

Series: Genome biology and evolution
ISSN: 1759-6653
ISSN-E: 1759-6653
ISSN-L: 1759-6653
Volume: 11
Issue: 10
Pages: 2875 - 2886
DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evz212
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was supported by junior research grants from the Swedish Research Council (VR 2013-4508 to N.B.) and (VR 2014-6325 to T.K.), Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, Co-fund Project INCA (600398 to T.K.) and AEI/FEDER, UE (CGL2016-76322-P to R.V.). The authors acknowledge support from the National Genomics Infrastructure in Stockholm and Uppsala funded by the Science for Life Laboratory, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Research Council, and SNIC/Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science for assistance with massively parallel sequencing and access to the UPPMAX computational infrastructure.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.