Local adaptation frequently occurs across populations as a result of migration-selection balance between divergent selective pressures and gene flow associated with life in heterogeneous landscapes. Studying the effects of selection and gene flow on the adaptation process can be achieved in systemsthat have recently colonized extremeenvironments. This study utilizes an endemic South American duck species, the speckled teal (Anas flavirostris),which has both high- and low-altitude populations. High-altitude speckled teal (A. f. oxyptera) are locally adapted to the Andean environment and mostly allopatric from low-altitude birds (A. f. flavirostris);however, there is occasional geneflowacross altitudinal gradients. In this study,we used next-generation sequencing to explore genetic patterns associated with high-altitude adaptation in speckled teal populations, as well as the extent to which the balance between selection and migration have affected genetic architecture. We identified a set of loci with allele frequencies strongly correlated with altitude, including those involved in the insulin-like signaling pathway, bone morphogenesis, oxidative phosphorylation, responders to hypoxia-induced DNAdamage, and feedback loops to the hypoxia-inducible factor pathway. These same outlier loci were found to have depressed gene flow estimates, as well as being highly concentrated on the Z-chromosome. Our results suggest a multifactorial response to life at high altitudes through an array of interconnected pathways that are likely under positive selection and whose genetic components seem to be providing an effective genomic barrier to interbreeding, potentially functioning as an avenue for population divergence and speciation.
- Local adaptation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics