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The determinants of genetic diversity in butterflies

AuthorsMackintosh, Alexander; Laetsch, Dominik R.; Hayward, Alexander; Charlesworth, Brian; Waterfall, Martin; Vila, Roger ; Lohse, Konrad
Evolutionary genetics
Genetic variation
Issue Date1-Aug-2019
PublisherSpringer Nature
CitationNature Communications 10: 3466 (2019)
AbstractUnder the neutral theory, genetic diversity is expected to increase with population size. While comparative analyses have consistently failed to find strong relationships between census population size and genetic diversity, a recent study across animals identified a strong correlation between propagule size and genetic diversity, suggesting that r-strategists that produce many small offspring, have greater long-term population sizes. Here we compare genome-wide genetic diversity across 38 species of European butterflies (Papilionoidea), a group that shows little variation in reproductive strategy. We show that genetic diversity across butterflies varies over an order of magnitude and that this variation cannot be explained by differences in current abundance, propagule size, host or geographic range. Instead, neutral genetic diversity is negatively correlated with body size and positively with the length of the genetic map. This suggests that genetic diversity is determined both by differences in long-term population size and the effect of selection on linked sites.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11308-4
Identifiersdoi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11308-4
e-issn: 2041-1723
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