Bactrocera dorsalis, the Oriental fruit fly, is one of the world's most destructive agricultural insect pests and a major impediment to international fresh commodity trade. The genetic structuring of the species across its entire geographic range has never been undertaken, because under a former taxonomy B. dorsalis was divided into four distinct taxonomic entities, each with their own, largely non-overlapping, distributions. Based on the extensive sampling of six a priori groups from 63 locations, genetic and geometric morphometric datasets were generated to detect macrogeographic population structure, and to determine prior and current invasion pathways of this species. Weak population structure and high genetic diversity were detected among Asian populations. Invasive populations in Africa and Hawaii are inferred to be the result of separate, single invasions from South Asia, while South Asia is also the likely source of other Asian populations. The current northward invasion of B. dorsalis into Central China is the result of multiple, repeated dispersal events, most likely related to fruit trade. Results are discussed in the context of global quarantine, trade, and management of this pest. The recent expansion of the fly into temperate China, with very few associated genetic changes, clearly demonstrates the threat posed by this pest to ecologically similar areas in Europe and North America.
Agricultural weeds serve as productive models for studying the genetic basis of rapid adaptation, with weed-adaptive traits potentially evolving multiple times independently in geographically distinct but environmentally similar agroecosystems. Weedy relatives of domesticated crops can be especially interesting systems because of the potential for weed-adaptive alleles to originate through multiple mechanisms, including introgression from cultivated and/or wild relatives, standing genetic variation, and de novo mutations. Weedy rice populations have evolved multiple times through dedomestication from cultivated rice. Much of the genomic work to date in weedy rice has focused on populations that exist outside the range of the wild crop progenitor. In this study, we use genome-wide SNPs generated through genotyping-by-sequencing to compare the evolution of weedy rice in regions outside the range of wild rice (North America, South Korea) and populations in Southeast Asia, where wild rice populations are present. We find evidence for adaptive introgression of wild rice alleles into weedy rice populations in Southeast Asia, with the relative contributions of wild and cultivated rice alleles varying across the genome. In addition, gene regions underlying several weed-adaptive traits are dominated by genomic contributions from wild rice. Genome-wide nucleotide diversity is also much higher in Southeast Asian weeds than in North American and South Korean weeds. Besides reflecting introgression from wild rice, this difference in diversity likely reflects genetic contributions from diverse cultivated landraces that may have served as the progenitors of these weedy populations. These important differences in weedy rice evolution in regions with and without wild rice could inform region-specific management strategies for weed control.
Habitat fragmentation is a major extinction driver. Despite dramatically increasing fragmentation across the globe, its specific impacts on population connectivity across species with differing life histories remain difficult to characterize, let alone quantify. Here, we investigate patterns of population connectivity in six songbird species from Singapore, a highly fragmented tropical rainforest island. Using massive panels of genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms across dozens of samples per species, we examined population genetic diversity, inbreeding, gene flow and connectivity among species along a spectrum of ecological specificities. We found a higher resilience to habitat fragmentation in edge-tolerant and forest-canopy species as compared to forest-dependent understorey insectivores. The latter exhibited levels of genetic diversity up to three times lower in Singapore than in populations from contiguous forest elsewhere. Using dense genomic and geographic sampling, we identified individual barriers such as reservoirs that effectively minimize gene flow in sensitive understorey birds, revealing that terrestrial forest species may exhibit levels of sensitivity to fragmentation far greater than previously expected. This study provides a blueprint for conservation genomics at small scales with a view to identifying preferred locations for habitat corridors, flagging candidate populations for restocking with translocated individuals and improving the design of future reserves.
The red junglefowl Gallus gallus is the ancestor of the domestic chicken and arguably the most important bird species on Earth. Continual gene flow between domestic and wild populations has compromised its gene pool, especially since the last century when human encroachment and habitat loss would have led to increased contact opportunities. We present the first combined genomic and morphological admixture assessment of a native population of red junglefowl, sampled from recolonized parts of its former range in Singapore, partly using whole genomes resequenced from dozens of individuals. Crucially, this population was genomically anchored to museum samples from adjacent Peninsular Malaysia collected ~110-150 years ago to infer the magnitude of modern domestic introgression across individuals. We detected a strong feral-wild genomic continuum with varying levels of domestic introgression in different subpopulations across Singapore. Using a trait scoring scheme, we determined morphological thresholds that can be used by conservation managers to successfully identify individuals with low levels of domestic introgression, and selected traits that were particularly useful for predicting domesticity in genomic profiles. Our study underscores the utility of combined genomic and morphological approaches in population management and suggests a way forward to safeguard the allelic integrity of wild red junglefowl in perpetuity.
Currently, the effects of chronic, continuous low dose environmental irradiation on the mitochondrial genome of resident small mammals are unknown. Using the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) as a model system, we tested the hypothesis that approximately 50 generations of exposure to the Chernobyl environment has significantly altered genetic diversity of the mitochondrial genome. Using deep sequencing, we compared mitochondrial genomes from 131 individuals from reference sites with radioactive contamination comparable to that present in northern Ukraine before the 26 April 1986 meltdown, to populations where substantial fallout was deposited following the nuclear accident. Population genetic variables revealed significant differences among populations from contaminated and uncontaminated localities. Therefore, we rejected the null hypothesis of no significant genetic effect from 50 generations of exposure to the environment created by the Chernobyl meltdown. Samples from contaminated localities exhibited significantly higher numbers of haplotypes and polymorphic loci, elevated genetic diversity, and a significantly higher average number of substitutions per site across mitochondrial gene regions. Observed genetic variation was dominated by synonymous mutations, which may indicate a history of purify selection against nonsynonymous or insertion/deletion mutations. These significant differences were not attributable to sample size artifacts. The observed increase in mitochondrial genomic diversity in voles from radioactive sites is consistent with the possibility that chronic, continuous irradiation resulting from the Chernobyl disaster has produced an accelerated mutation rate in this species over the last 25 years. Our results, being the first to demonstrate this phenomenon in a wild mammalian species, are important for understanding genetic consequences of exposure to low-dose radiation sources.
Impending anthropogenic climate change will severely impact coastal organisms at unprecedented speed. Knowledge on organisms' evolutionary responses to past sea-level fluctuations and estimation of their evolutionary potential is therefore indispensable in efforts to mitigate the effects of future climate change. We sampled tens of thousands of genomic markers of ~300 individuals in two of the four extant horseshoe crab species across the complex archipelagic Singapore Straits. Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda Latreille, a less mobile mangrove species, has finer population structure and lower genetic diversity compared with the dispersive deep-sea Tachypleus gigas Müller. Even though the source populations of both species during the last glacial maximum exhibited comparable effective population sizes, the less dispersive C. rotundicauda seems to lose genetic diversity much more quickly because of population fragmentation. Contra previous studies' results, we predict that the more commonly sighted C. rotundicauda faces a more uncertain conservation plight, with a continuing loss in evolutionary potential and higher vulnerability to future climate change. Our study provides important genomic baseline data for the redirection of conservation measures in the face of climate change and can be used as a blueprint for assessment and mitigation of the adverse effects of impending sea-level rise in other systems.
An increasing number of invasive fruit fly pests are colonizing new grounds. With this study, we aimed to uncover the invasion pathways of the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis into the islands of the Indian Ocean. By using genome-wide SNP data and a multipronged approach consisting of PCA, ancestry analysis, phylogenetic inference, and kinship networks, we were able to resolve two independent invasion pathways. A western invasion pathway involved the stepping-stone migration of B. dorsalis from the east African coast into the Comoros, along Mayotte and into Madagascar with a decreasing genetic diversity. The Mascarene islands (Reunion and Mauritius), on the contrary, were colonized directly from Asia and formed a distinct cluster. The low nucleotide diversity suggests that only a few genotypes invaded the Mascarenes. The presence of many long runs of homozygosity (ROH) in the introduced populations is indicative of population bottlenecks, with evidence of a more severe bottleneck for populations along the western migration pathway than on the Mascarene islands. More strict phytosanitary regulations are recommended in order to prevent the further spread of B. dorsalis.