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Authors: Nam, Kiwoong and Nhim, Sandra and Robin, Stephanie and Bretaudeau, Anthony and Negre, Nicolas and dAlencon, Emmanuelle

The process of speciation involves whole genome differentiation by overcoming gene flow between diverging populations. We have ample knowledge which evolutionary forces may cause genomic differentiation, and several speciation models have been proposed to explain the transition from genetic to genomic differentiation. However, it is still unclear what are critical conditions enabling genomic differentiation in nature. The Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is observed as two sympatric strains that have different host-plant ranges, suggesting the possibility of ecological divergent selection. In our previous study, we observed that these two strains show genetic differentiation across the whole genome with an unprecedentedly low extent, suggesting the possibility that whole genome sequences started to be differentiated between the strains. In this study, we analyzed whole genome sequences from these two strains from Mississippi to identify critical evolutionary factors for genomic differentiation. The genomic Fst is low (0.017) while 91.3% of 10kb windows have Fst greater than 0, suggesting genome-wide differentiation with a low extent. We identified nearly 400 outliers of genetic differentiation between strains, and found that physical linkage among these outliers is not a primary cause of genomic differentiation. Fst is not significantly correlated with gene density, a proxy for the strength of selection, suggesting that a genomic reduction in migration rate dominates the extent of local genetic differentiation. Our analyses reveal that divergent selection alone is sufficient to generate genomic differentiation, and any following diversifying factors may increase the level of genetic differentiation between diverging strains in the process of speciation.

Journal: BioRxiv
DOI: 10.1101/452870
Year: 2018

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