Evolutionary Genomics of a Subdivided Species

Takahiro Maruki, Zhiqiang Ye, Michael Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The ways in which genetic variation is distributed within and among populations is a key determinant of the evolutionary features of a species. However, most comprehensive studies of these features have been restricted to studies of subdivision in settings known to have been driven by local adaptation, leaving our understanding of the natural dispersion of allelic variation less than ideal. Here, we present a geographic population-genomic analysis of 10 populations of the freshwater microcrustacean Daphnia pulex, an emerging model system in evolutionary genomics. These populations exhibit a pattern of moderate isolation-by-distance, with an average migration rate of 0.6 individuals per generation, and average effective population sizes of ?650,000 individuals. Most populations contain numerous private alleles, and genomic scans highlight the presence of islands of excessively high population subdivision for more common alleles. A large fraction of such islands of population divergence likely reflect historical neutral changes, including rare stochastic migration and hybridization events. The data do point to local adaptive divergence, although the precise nature of the relevant variation is diffuse and cannot be associated with particular loci, despite the very large sample sizes involved in this study. In contrast, an analysis of between-species divergence highlights positive selection operating on a large set of genes with functions nearly nonoverlapping with those involved in local adaptation, in particular ribosome structure, mitochondrial bioenergetics, light reception and response, detoxification, and gene regulation. These results set the stage for using D. pulex as a model for understanding the relationship between molecular and cellular evolution in the context of natural environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbermsac152
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • Daphnia pulex
  • Local adaptation
  • Neutrality index
  • Population genomics
  • Population structure
  • Population subdivision
  • Private alleles
  • Site-frequency spectrum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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