Browsing by Subject "threespine stickleback"

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  • Fang, Bohao; Merilä, Juha; Matschiner, Michael; Momigliano, Paolo (2020)
    Incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) can lead to biased divergence time estimates. To explore if and how ILS has influenced the results of a recent study of worldwide phylogeny of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus), we estimated divergence times among major clades by applying both a concatenation approach and the multispecies coalescent (MSC) model to single-nucleotide polymorphisms. To further test the influence of different calibration strategies, we applied different calibrations to the root and to younger nodes in addition to the ones used in the previous study. Both the updated calibrations and the application of the MSC model influenced divergence time estimates, sometimes significantly. The new divergence time estimates were more ancient than in the previous study for older nodes, whereas the estimates of younger nodes were not strongly affected by the re-analyses. However, given the applied MSC method employs a simple substitution model and cannot account for changes in population size, we suggest that different analytical approaches and calibration strategies should be used in order to explore uncertainty in divergence time estimates. This study provides a valuable reference timeline for the ages of worldwide three-spined stickleback populations and emphasizes the need to embrace, rather than obscure, uncertainties around divergence time estimates.
  • Candolin, Ulrika; Jensen, Irene (2021)
    When environments change rapidly, evolutionary processes may be too slow to rescue populations from decline. Persistence then hinges on plastic adjustments of critical traits to the altered conditions. However, the degree to which species harbour the necessary plasticity and the degree to which the plasticity is exposed to selection in human-disturbed environments are poorly known. We show that a population of the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) harbours variation in plasticity in male courtship behaviour, which is exposed to selection when visibility deteriorates because of enhanced algal growth. Females in clear water show no preference for plastic males, while females in algal-rich, turbid water switch their mate preference towards males with adaptive plasticity. Thus, while the plasticity is not selected for in the original clear water environment, it comes under selection in turbid water. However, much maladaptive plasticity is present in the population, probably because larger turbidity fluctuations have been rare in the past. Thus, the probability that the plasticity will improve the ability of the population to cope with human-induced increases in turbidity-and possibly facilitate genetic adaptation-depends on its prevalence and genetic basis. In conclusion, our results show that rapid human-induced environmental change can expose phenotypic plasticity to selection, but that much of the plasticity can be maladaptive, also when the altered conditions represent extremes of earlier encountered conditions. Thus, whether the plasticity will improve population viability remains questionable.
  • Pritchard, Victoria L.; Viitaniemi, Heidi M.; McCairns, R. J. Scott; Merila, Juha; Nikinmaa, Mikko; Primmer, Craig R.; Leder, Erica H. (2017)
    Much adaptive evolutionary change is underlain by mutational variation in regions of the genome that regulate gene expression rather than in the coding regions of the genes themselves. An understanding of the role of gene expression variation in facilitating local adaptation will be aided by an understanding of underlying regulatory networks. Here, we characterize the genetic architecture of gene expression variation in the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), an important model in the study of adaptive evolution. We collected transcriptomic and genomic data from 60 half-sib families using an expression microarray and genotyping-by-sequencing, and located expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) underlying the variation in gene expression in liver tissue using an interval mapping approach. We identified eQTL for several thousand expression traits. Expression was influenced by polymorphism in both cis- and trans-regulatory regions. Transe-QTL clustered into hotspots. We did not identify master transcriptional regulators in hotspot locations: rather, the presence of hotspots may be driven by complex interactions between multiple transcription factors. One observed hotspot colocated with a QTL recently found to underlie salinity tolerance in the threespine stickleback. However, most other observed hotspots did not colocate with regions of the genome known to be involved in adaptive divergence between marine and freshwater habitats.
  • Candolin, Ulrika (Royal Society of London, 1998)
    An increasing number of studies show that animals adjust their reproductive e¡ort to the risk of predation. However, to maximize lifetime reproductive success this adjustment should depend on the animals' current and future reproductive potential. Here I tested this hypothesis by allowing threespine stickleback males (Gasterosteus aculeatus), differing in current and future mating probabilities, to reproduce in pools in both the presence and absence of predators. As expected, males adjusted their reproductive effort to the risk of predation. Fewer males bred, and all males developed less nuptial coloration in the presence of predators. However, males with a low current mating probability took less risk than males with a higher mating probability, whereas all males increased risk taking when future reproductive opportunities decreased. The results thus support the hypothesis that males are able to assess both the risk of predation and their current versus future mating probability, and adjust their reproductive decisions accordingly. The study further suggests that predation risk may have less effect on sexual selection than previously assumed, as the males which refrained from reproducing in the presence of predators were mainly males with a low mating probability.