Fixation of genetic variation and optimization of gene expression: The speed of evolution in isolated lizard populations undergoing Reverse Island Syndrome

Autoři: Maria Buglione aff001;  Simona Petrelli aff001;  Valeria Maselli aff001;  Martina Trapanese aff001;  Marco Salvemini aff001;  Serena Aceto aff001;  Anna Di Cosmo aff001;  Domenico Fulgione aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II Naples, Naples, Italy aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224607


The ecological theory of island biogeography suggests that mainland populations should be more genetically divergent from those on large and distant islands rather than from those on small and close islets. Some island populations do not evolve in a linear way, but the process of divergence occurs more rapidly because they undergo a series of phenotypic changes, jointly known as the Island Syndrome. A special case is Reversed Island Syndrome (RIS), in which populations show drastic phenotypic changes both in body shape, skin colouration, age of sexual maturity, aggressiveness, and food intake rates. The populations showing the RIS were observed on islets nearby mainland and recently raised, and for this they are useful models to study the occurrence of rapid evolutionary change. We investigated the timing and mode of evolution of lizard populations adapted through selection on small islets. For our analyses, we used an ad hoc model system of three populations: wild-type lizards from the mainland and insular lizards from a big island (Capri, Italy), both Podarcis siculus siculus not affected by the syndrome, and a lizard population from islet (Scopolo) undergoing the RIS (called P. s. coerulea because of their melanism). The split time of the big (Capri) and small (Scopolo) islands was determined using geological events, like sea-level rises. To infer molecular evolution, we compared five complete mitochondrial genomes for each population to reconstruct the phylogeography and estimate the divergence time between island and mainland lizards. We found a lower mitochondrial mutation rate in Scopolo lizards despite the phenotypic changes achieved in approximately 8,000 years. Furthermore, transcriptome analyses showed significant differential gene expression between islet and mainland lizard populations, suggesting the key role of plasticity in these unpredictable environments.

Klíčová slova:

Evolutionary genetics – Gene expression – Haplotypes – Islands – Mitochondrial DNA – Phylogenetic analysis – Population genetics – Lizards


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