University of Oulu

Koubínová, D., Dincă, V., Dapporto, L. et al. Genomics of extreme ecological specialists: multiple convergent evolution but no genetic divergence between ecotypes of Maculinea alcon butterflies. Sci Rep 7, 13752 (2017).

Genomics of extreme ecological specialists: multiple convergent evolution but no genetic divergence between ecotypes of Maculinea alcon butterflies

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Author: Koubínová, Darina1; Dincă, Vlad2,3; Dapporto, Leonardo2,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Evolution, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Biophore, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland
2Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37, 08003, Barcelona, Spain
3Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Biology, University of Florence, via Madonna del Piano 6, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy
5Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Via Accademia Albertina 13, 10123, Turin, Italy
6W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Lubicz 46, 31-512, Kraków, Poland
7Natural History Museum of Geneva, Route de Malagnou 1, 1208, Geneva, Switzerland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2021-03-25


Biotic interactions are often acknowledged as catalysers of genetic divergence and eventual explanation of processes driving species richness. We address the question, whether extreme ecological specialization is always associated with lineage sorting, by analysing polymorphisms in morphologically similar ecotypes of the myrmecophilous butterfly Maculinea alcon. The ecotypes occur in either hygric or xeric habitats, use different larval host plants and ant species, but no significant distinctive molecular traits have been revealed so far. We apply genome-wide RAD-sequencing to specimens originating from both habitats across Europe in order to get a view of the potential evolutionary processes at work. Our results confirm that genetic variation is mainly structured geographically but not ecologically — specimens from close localities are more related to each other than populations of each ecotype from distant localities. However, we found two loci for which the association with xeric versus hygric habitats is supported by segregating alleles, suggesting convergent evolution of habitat preference. Thus, ecological divergence between the forms probably does not represent an early stage of speciation, but may result from independent recurring adaptations involving few genes. We discuss the implications of these results for conservation and suggest preserving biotic interactions and main genetic clusters.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 7
Article number: 13752
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12938-8
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: The work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant PP00P3_144870), a Sciex PostDoc Fellowship (14.002), BNF project of the Bern University, Switzerland, the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad CGL2016-76322-P (AEI/FEDER, UE), and the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme for research and innovation under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 609402-2020 researchers: Train to Move (T2M) postdoctoral fellowship to R. Vodă. V. D. was supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (project no. 625997). Access to computing and storage facilities owned by parties and projects contributing to the National Grid Infrastructure MetaCentrum provided under the programme “Projects of Projects of Large Research, Development, and Innovations Infrastructures” (CESNET LM2015042), is greatly appreciated.
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