This study explored a germplasm collection consisting of 112 Luffa acutangula (ridge gourd) accessions, mainly from Thailand. A total of 2834 SNPs were used to establish population structure and underlying genetic diversity while exploring the fruit characteristics together with genetic information which would help in the selection of parental lines for a breeding program. The study found that the average polymorphism information content value of 0.288 which indicates a moderate genetic diversity for this L. acutangula germplasm. STRUCTURE analysis (ΔK at K = 6) allowed us to group the accessions into six subpopulations that corresponded well with the unrooted phylogenetic tree and principal coordinate analyses. When plotted, the STRUCTURE bars to the area of collection, we observed an admixed genotype from surrounding accessions and a geneflow confirmed by the value of FST = 0.137. AMOVA based on STRUCTURE clustering showed a low 12.83% variation between subpopulations that correspond well with the negative inbreeding coefficient value (FIS = − 0.092) and low total fixation index (FIT = 0.057). There were distinguishing fruit shapes and length characteristics in specific accessions for each subpopulation. The genetic diversity and different fruit shapes in the L. acutangula germplasm could benefit the ridge gourd breeding programs to meet the demands and needs of consumers, farmers, and vegetable exporters such as increasing the yield of fruit by the fruit width but not by the fruit length to solve the problem of fruit breakage during exportation.
Maintenance of genetic diversity within species is a key objective of biodiversity conservation, and small, isolated populations are particularly vulnerable to genetic erosion. Conservation management actions such as predator removal, captive breeding and reintroduction can facilitate numerical recovery of a population, but species often remain at risk from depleted genetic diversity and inbreeding. We investigated dispersal, genetic bottlenecks and genetic population structuring in the island-dwelling Lord Howe woodhen, a species that came perilously close to extinction in the 1970s. Analyses of mark-resighting records and variable genetic markers (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) collected from the contemporary population and 100-year-old museum specimens found strong evidence of restricted dispersal at fine spatial scales, with both the contemporary and historic populations exhibiting strong population structuring between mountain and lowland/slopes sites. Additionally, genetic comparison of the contemporary population and historic specimens demonstrated a decline in genetic diversity over the past century. Specifically for the Lord Howe woodhen, we recommend ongoing genetic monitoring and translocations to increase genetic diversity within the re-established lowland subpopulation. More generally, our results demonstrate how pronounced genetic erosion can arise in species subject to human persecution and predation by introduced predators, and how genetic fragmentation of natural populations can be present at fine geographical scales (less than hundreds of metres). Moreover, without prior information about genetic structure and subsequent genetic monitoring, conservation management can have unexpected negative consequences for the genetic health of populations. Therefore, genetic monitoring and management early in the recovery of populations is desirable to maximize their adaptive potential.
As anomalous heat waves are causing the widespread decline of coral reefs worldwide, there is an urgent need to identify coral populations tolerant to thermal stress. Heat stress adaptive potential is the degree of tolerance expected from evolutionary processes and, for a given reef, depends on the arrival of propagules from reefs exposed to recurrent thermal stress. For this reason, assessing spatial patterns of thermal adaptation and reef connectivity is of paramount importance to inform conservation strategies. In this work, we applied a seascape genomics framework to characterize the spatial patterns of thermal adaptation and connectivity for coral reefs of New Caledonia (Southern Pacific). In this approach, remote sensing of seascape conditions was combined with genomic data from three coral species. For every reef of the region, we computed a probability of heat stress adaptation, and two indices forecasting inbound and outbound connectivity. We then compared our indicators to field survey data, and observed that decrease of coral cover after heat stress was lower at reefs predicted with high probability of adaptation and inbound connectivity. Last, we discussed how these indicators can be used to inform local conservation strategies and preserve the adaptive potential of New Caledonian reefs.
The majority of lizards classified in the superfamily Iguanoidea have an XX/XY sex-determination system in which sex-chromosomal linkage shows homology with chicken (Gallus gallus) chromosome 15 (GGA15). However, the genomics of sex chromosomes remain largely unexplored owing to the presence of homomorphic sex chromosomes in majority of the species. Recent advances in high-throughput genome complexity reduction sequencing provide an effective approach to the identification of sex-specific loci with both single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and restriction fragment presence/absence (PA), and a better understanding of sex chromosome dynamics in Iguanoidea. In this study, we applied Diversity Arrays Technology (DArTseqTM) in 29 phenotypic sex assignments (14 males and 15 females) of green iguana (Iguana iguana). We confirmed a male heterogametic (XX/XY) sex determination mode in this species, identifying 29 perfectly sex-linked SNP/PA loci and 164 moderately sex-linked SNP/PA loci, providing evidence probably indicative of XY recombination. Three loci from among the perfectly sex-linked SNP/PA loci showed partial homology with several amniote sex chromosomal linkages. The results support the hypothesis of an ancestral super-sex chromosome with overlaps of partial sex-chromosomal linkages. However, only one locus among the moderately sex-linked loci showed homology with GGA15, which suggests that the specific region homologous to GGA15 was located outside the non-recombination region but in close proximity to this region of the sex chromosome in green iguana. Therefore, the location of GGA15 might be further from the putative sex-determination locus in green iguana. This is a paradigm shift in understanding linkages on homomorphic X and Y sex chromosomes. The DArTseq platform provides an easy-to-use strategy for future research on the evolution of sex chromosomes in Iguanoidea, particularly for non-model species with homomorphic or highly cryptic sex chromosomes.
Conservation genomics research often relies on accurate sex information to make inferences about species demography, dispersal, and population structure. However, field determined sex data are not always available and can be subject to human error, while laboratory sex determination is costly and often challenging for non-model species. Conservation genomics programs increasingly use reduced-representation genome sequencing to assess neutral and functional genetic diversity, population structure, gene flow and pedigrees in threatened species. Here we demonstrate that sex can be determined from reduced-representation sequencing data produced by the increasingly popular Diversity Arrays Technology sequencing workflow (DArT-seq) using a program originally designed for application to shotgun data. This program – sexassign – compares the “dosage” of sequencing reads mapping to autosomes versus the X chromosome. In the present study, sexassign accurately determined the sex of 60 field-collected Greater Stick-Nest Rat (Leporillus conditor) samples, despite the absence of an annotated reference genome for the species. This “read-dosage” approach is not only more accurate and affordable than traditional sex determination methods, but can be applied to any diploid organism with a heterogametic sex determination system – including non-model and understudied species of conservation importance – by using FASTQs generated by DArT.
Restrictions to gene flow, genetic drift, and divergent selection associated with different environments are significant drivers of genetic differentiation. The black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon), is widely distributed throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans including along the western, northern and eastern coastline of Australia, where it is an important aquaculture and fishery species. Understanding the genetic structure and the influence of environmental factors leading to adaptive differences among populations of this species is important for farm genetic improvement programs and sustainable fisheries management.
Based on 278 individuals obtained from seven geographically disparate Australian locations, 10,624 high-quality SNP loci were used to characterize genetic diversity, population structure, genetic connectivity, and adaptive divergence. Significant population structure and differentiation were revealed among wild populations (average FST = 0.001–0.107; p < 0.05). Eighty-nine putatively outlier SNPs were identified to be potentially associated with environmental variables by using both population differentiation (BayeScan and PCAdapt) and environmental association (redundancy analysis and latent factor mixed model) analysis methods. Clear population structure with similar spatial patterns were observed in both neutral and outlier markers with three genetically distinct groups identified (north Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia). Redundancy, partial redundancy, and multiple regression on distance matrices analyses revealed that both geographical distance and environmental factors interact to generate the structure observed across Australian P. monodon populations.
This study provides new insights on genetic population structure of Australian P. monodon in the face of environmental changes, which can be used to advance sustainable fisheries management and aquaculture breeding programs.
An assessment of genetic diversity of marine populations is critical not only for the understanding and preserving natural biodiversity but also for its commercial potential. As commercial demand rises for marine resources, it is critical to generate baseline information for monitoring wild populations. Furthermore, anthropogenic stressors on the coastal environment, such as warming sea temperatures and overharvesting of wild populations, are leading to the destruction of keystone marine species such as kelps. In this study, we conducted a fine-scale genetic analysis using genome-wide high-density markers on Northwest Atlantic sugar kelp. The population structure for a total of 149 samples from the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and Southern New England (SNE) was investigated using AMOVA, FST, admixture, and PCoA. Genome-wide association analyses were conducted for six morphological traits, and the extended Lewontin and Krakauer (FLK) test was used to detect selection signatures. Our results indicate that the GOM region is more heterogeneous than SNE. These two regions have large genetic difference (between-location FST ranged from 0.21 to 0.32) and were separated by Cape Cod, which is known to be the biogeographic barrier for other taxa. We detected one significant SNP (P = 2.03 × 10–7) associated with stipe length, and 248 SNPs with higher-than-neutral differentiation. The findings of this study provide baseline knowledge on sugar kelp population genetics for future monitoring, managing and potentially restoring wild populations, as well as assisting in selective breeding to improve desirable traits for future commercialization opportunities.
Ecological restoration requires balancing levels of genetic diversity to achieve present-day establishment as well as long-term sustainability. Assumptions based on distributional, taxonomic or functional generalizations are often made when deciding how to source plant material for restoration. We investigate this assumption and ask whether species-specific data is required to optimize provenancing strategies. We use population genetic and environmental data from five congeneric and largely co-distributed species of Acacia to specifically ask how different species-specific genetic provenancing strategies are based on empirical data and how well a simple, standardized collection strategy would work when applied to the same species. We find substantial variability in terms of patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation across the landscape among these five co-distributed Acacia species. This variation translates into substantial differences in genetic provenancing recommendations among species (ranging from 100% to less than 1% of observed genetic variation across species) that could not have been accurately predicted a priori based on simple observation or overall distributional patterns. Furthermore, when a common provenancing strategy was applied to each species, the recommended collection areas and the evolutionary representativeness of such artificially standardized areas were substantially different (smaller) from those identified based on environmental and genetic data. We recommend the implementation of the increasingly accessible array of evolutionary-based methodologies and information to optimize restoration efforts
With recent advances in sequencing technology, genomic data are changing how important conservation management decisions are made. Applications such as Close-Kin Mark-Recapture demand large amounts of data to estimate population size and structure, and their full potential can only be realised through ongoing improvements in genotyping strategies. Here we introduce DArTcap, a cost-efficient method that combines DArTseq and sequence capture, and illustrate its use in a high resolution population analysis of Glyphis garricki, a rare, poorly known and threatened euryhaline shark. Clustering analyses and spatial distribution of kin pairs from four different regions across northern Australia and one in Papua New Guinea, representing its entire known range, revealed that each region hosts at least one distinct population. Further structuring is likely within Van Diemen Gulf, the region that included the most rivers sampled, suggesting additional population structuring would be found if other rivers were sampled. Coalescent analyses and spatially explicit modelling suggest that G. garricki experienced a recent range expansion during the opening of the Gulf of Carpentaria following the conclusion of the Last Glacial Maximum. The low migration rates between neighbouring populations of a species that is found only in restricted coastal and riverine habitats show the importance of managing each population separately, including careful monitoring of local and remote anthropogenic activities that may affect their environments. Overall we demonstrated how a carefully chosen SNP panel combined with DArTcap can provide highly accurate kinship inference and also support population structure and historical demography analyses, therefore maximising cost-effectiveness.
We surveyed mitochondrial, autosomal, and Z chromosome diversity within and between the Copperback Quail-thrush Cinclosoma clarum and Chestnut Quail-thrush C. castanotum, which together span the arid and semi-arid zones of southern Australia, and primarily from specimens held in museum collections. We affirm the recent taxonomic separation of the two species and then focus on diversity within the more widespread of the two species, C. clarum. To guide further study of the system and what it offers to understanding the genomics of the differentiation and speciation processes, we develop and present a hypothesis to explain mitonuclear discordance that emerged in ourdata. Following a period of historical allopatry, secondary contact has resulted in an eastern mitochondrial genome replacing the western mitochondrial genome in western populations. This is predicted under a population-level invasion in the opposite direction, that of the western population invading the range of the eastern one. Mitochondrial captures can be driven by neutral, demographic processes, or adaptive mechanisms, and we favor the hypothesized capture being driven by neutral means. We cannot fully reject the adaptive process but suggest how these alternatives may be further tested. We acknowledge an alternative hypothesis, which finds some support in phenotypic data published elsewhere, namely that outcomes of secondary contact have been more complex than our current genomic data suggest. Discriminating and reconciling these two alternative hypotheses, which may not be mutually exclusive, could be tested with closer sampling at levels of population, individual, and nucleotide than has so far been possible. This would be further aided by knowledge of the genetic basis to phenotypic variation described elsewhere.