RAD Sequencing Highlights Polygenic Discrimination of Habitat Ecotypes in the Panmictic American Eel

Authors: Pavey, Scott; Gaudin, Jérémy; Normandeau, Éric; Dionne, Mélanie; Castonguay, Martin; Audet, Céline; Bernatchez, Louis
Abstract: The two primary ways that species respond to heterogeneous environments is through local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. The American eel (Anguilla rostrata) presents a paradox; despite inhabiting drastically different environments [1], the species is panmictic [2, 3]. Spawning takes place only in the southern Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean [1]. Then, the planktonic larvae (leptocephali) disperse to rearing locations from Cuba to Greenland, and juveniles colonize either freshwater or brackish/saltwater habitats, where they spend 3–25 years before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn as a panmictic species. Depending on rearing habitat, individuals exhibit drastically different ecotypes [4–6]. In particular, individuals rearing in freshwater tend to grow slowly and mature older and are more likely to be female in comparison to individuals that rear in brackish/saltwater [4, 6]. The hypothesis that phenotypic plasticity alone can account for all of the differences was not supported by three independent controlled experiments [7–10]. Here, we present a genome-wide association study that demonstrates a polygenic basis that discriminates these habitat-specific ecotypes belonging to the same panmictic population. We found that 331 co-varying loci out of 42,424 initially considered were associated with the divergent ecotypes, allowing a reclassification of 89.6%. These 331 SNPs are associated with 101 genes that represent vascular and morphological development, calcium ion regulation, growth and transcription factors, and olfactory receptors. Our results are consistent with divergent natural selection of phenotypes and/or genotype-dependent habitat choice by individuals that results in these genetic differences between habitats, occurring every generation anew in this panmictic species.
Issue Date: 15 June 2015
Open Access Date: Restricted access
Document version: VoR
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/268
This document was published in: Current Biology, Vol. 25 (12), 1666–1671 (2015)
Alternative version: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26028437
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

Files in this item:
(343) Pavey_CurBiol_2015.pdf
769.61 kBAdobe PDF    Request a copy
All documents in CorpusUL are protected by Copyright Act of Canada.