Spatial and temporal genetic dynamics of the grasshopper revealed by museum genomics.

  • publication
  • 13-02-2018

Schmid S, Neuenschwander S, Pitteloud C, Heckel G, Pajkovic M, Arlettaz R, Alvarez N. Ecol Evol 2018 02;8(3):1480-1495. 10.1002/ece3.3699. ECE33699. PMC5792620.

Analyzing genetic variation through time and space is important to identify key evolutionary and ecological processes in populations. However, using contemporary genetic data to infer the dynamics of genetic diversity may be at risk of a bias, as inferences are performed from a set of extant populations, setting aside unavailable, rare, or now extinct lineages. Here, we took advantage of new developments in next-generation sequencing to analyze the spatial and temporal genetic dynamics of the grasshopper , a steppic Southwestern-Palearctic species. We applied a recently developed hybridization capture (hyRAD) protocol that allows retrieving orthologous sequences even from degraded DNA characteristic of museum specimens. We identified single nucleotide polymorphisms in 68 historical and 51 modern samples in order to (i) unravel the spatial genetic structure across part of the species distribution and (ii) assess the loss of genetic diversity over the past century in Swiss populations. Our results revealed (i) the presence of three potential glacial refugia spread across the European continent and converging spatially in the Alpine area. In addition, and despite a limited population sample size, our results indicate (ii) a loss of allelic richness in contemporary Swiss populations compared to historical populations, whereas levels of expected heterozygosities were not significantly different. This observation is compatible with an increase in the bottleneck magnitude experienced by central European populations of following human-mediated land-use change impacting steppic habitats. Our results confirm that application of hyRAD to museum samples produces valuable information to study genetic processes across time and space.

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