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Molecular ecology

Chromosomal inversions and ecotypic differentiation in Anopheles gambiae: the perspective from whole-genome sequencing.


PMID 27759895

Abstract

The molecular mechanisms and genetic architecture that facilitate adaptive radiation of lineages remain elusive. Polymorphic chromosomal inversions, due to their recombination-reducing effect, are proposed instruments of ecotypic differentiation. Here, we study an ecologically diversifying lineage of Anopheles gambiae, known as the Bamako chromosomal form based on its unique complement of three chromosomal inversions, to explore the impact of these inversions on ecotypic differentiation. We used pooled and individual genome sequencing of Bamako, typical (non-Bamako) An.xa0gambiae and the sister species Anopheles coluzzii to investigate evolutionary relationships and genomewide patterns of nucleotide diversity and differentiation among lineages. Despite extensive shared polymorphism and limited differentiation from the other taxa, Bamako clusters apart from the other taxa, and forms a maximally supported clade in neighbour-joining trees based on whole-genome data (including inversions) or solely on collinear regions. Nevertheless, FST outlier analysis reveals that the majority of differentiated regions between Bamako and typical An.xa0gambiae are located inside chromosomal inversions, consistent with their role in the ecological isolation of Bamako. Exceptionally differentiated genomic regions were enriched for genes implicated in nervous system development and signalling. Candidate genes associated with a selective sweep unique to Bamako contain substitutions not observed in sympatric samples of the other taxa, and several insecticide resistance gene alleles shared between Bamako and other taxa segregate at sharply different frequencies in these samples. Bamako represents a useful window into the initial stages of ecological and genomic differentiation from sympatric populations in this important group of malaria vectors.

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