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Title

High Rate of Recent Transposable Element–Induced Adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster

AuthorsGonzález Pérez, Josefa ; Lenkov, Kapa; Lipatov, Mikhail; Macpherson, J. Michael; Petrov, Dmitri A.
Issue DateOct-2008
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS - Biology 6(10): e251 (2008)
AbstractAlthough transposable elements (TEs) are known to be potent sources of mutation, their contribution to the generation of recent adaptive changes has never been systematically assessed. In this work, we conduct a genome-wide screen for adaptive TE insertions in Drosophila melanogaster that have taken place during or after the spread of this species out of Africa. We determine population frequencies of 902 of the 1,572 TEs in Release 3 of the D. melanogaster genome and identify a set of 13 putatively adaptive TEs. These 13 TEs increased in population frequency sharply after the spread out of Africa. We argue that many of these TEs are in fact adaptive by demonstrating that the regions flanking five of these TEs display signatures of partial selective sweeps. Furthermore, we show that eight out of the 13 putatively adaptive elements show population frequency heterogeneity consistent with these elements playing a role in adaptation to temperate climates. We conclude that TEs have contributed considerably to recent adaptive evolution (one TE-induced adaptation every 200–1,250 y). The majority of these adaptive insertions are likely to be involved in regulatory changes. Our results also suggest that TE-induced adaptations arise more often from standing variants than from new mutations. Such a high rate of TE-induced adaptation is inconsistent with the number of fixed TEs in the D. melanogaster genome, and we discuss possible explanations for this discrepancy.
[Author Summary] Transposable elements (TEs) are present in virtually all species and often contribute a substantial fraction of the genome size. Understanding the functional roles, evolution, and population dynamics of TEs is essential to understanding genome evolution and function. Much of our knowledge about TE population dynamics and evolution comes from the studies of TEs in Drosophila. However, the adaptive importance of TEs in the Drosophila genome has never been assessed. In this work, we describe the first comprehensive genome-wide screen for recent adaptive TE insertions in D. melanogaster. Using several independent criteria, we identified a set of 13 adaptive TEs and estimate that 25–50 TEs have played adaptive roles since the migration of D. melanogaster out of Africa. We show that most of these adaptive TEs are likely to be involved in regulatory changes and appear to be involved in adaptation to the temperate climate. We argue that most identified adaptive TEs are destined to be lost from the D. melanogaster population but that they do contribute significantly to local adaptation in this species.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0060251
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/99975
DOI10.1371/journal.pbio.0060251
ISSN1544-9173
E-ISSN1545-7885
Appears in Collections:(IBE) Artículos
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