Broad Concordance in the Spatial Distribution of Adaptive and Neutral Genetic Variation across an Elevational Gradient in Deer Mice

Rena M. Schweizer, Matthew R. Jones, Gideon S. Bradburd, Jay F. Storz, Nathan R. Senner, Cole Wolf, Zachary A. Cheviron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When species are continuously distributed across environmental gradients, the relative strength of selection and gene flow shape spatial patterns of genetic variation, potentially leading to variable levels of differentiation across loci. Determining whether adaptive genetic variation tends to be structured differently than neutral variation along environmental gradients is an open and important question in evolutionary genetics. We performed exome-wide population genomic analysis on deer mice sampled along an elevational gradient of nearly 4,000 m of vertical relief. Using a combination of selection scans, genotype-environment associations, and geographic cline analyses, we found that a large proportion of the exome has experienced a history of altitude-related selection. Elevational clines for nearly 30% of these putatively adaptive loci were shifted significantly up-or downslope of clines for loci that did not bear similar signatures of selection. Many of these selection targets can be plausibly linked to known phenotypic differences between highland and lowland deer mice, although the vast majority of these candidates have not been reported in other studies of highland taxa. Together, these results suggest new hypotheses about the genetic basis of physiological adaptation to high altitude, and the spatial distribution of adaptive genetic variation along environmental gradients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4286-4300
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Volume38
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Keywords

  • clinal selection
  • gene-environment association
  • high-Altitude adaptation
  • local adaptation
  • population structure

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