Neutral theory predicts that genetic diversity increases with population size, yet observed levels of diversity across metazoans vary only two orders of magnitude while population sizes vary over several. This unexpectedly narrow range of diversity is known as Lewontin’s Paradox of Variation (1974). While some have suggested selection constrains diversity, tests of this hypothesis seem to fall short. Here, I revisit Lewontin’s Paradox to assess whether current models of linked selection are capable of reducing diversity to this extent. To quantify the discrepancy between pairwise diversity and census population sizes across species, I combine previously-published estimates of pairwise diversity from 172 metazoan taxa with newly derived estimates of census sizes. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, I show this relationship is significant accounting for phylogeny, but with high phylogenetic signal and evidence that some lineages experience shifts in the evolutionary rate of diversity deep in the past. Additionally, I find a negative relationship between recombination map length and census size, suggesting abundant species have less recombination and experience greater reductions in diversity due to linked selection. However, I show that even assuming strong and abundant selection, models of linked selection are unlikely to explain the observed relationship between diversity and census sizes across species.
All primary datasets collated by this study, including new census size and range estimates, are available on Github at HTTP://github.com/vsbuffalo/paradox_variation. An archived version of this repository is also available at Zenodo.
Why do species get a thin slice of π?10.5281/zenodo.4542480.
Nucleotide diversity estimates.10.1371/journal.pbio.1001388.s001.
Supplementary material from "Variation in recombination frequency and distribution across eukaryotes: patterns and processes"https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3904942.v3.
- Vince Buffalo
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Guy Sella, Columbia University, United States
© 2021, Buffalo
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Hybridization is a major evolutionary force that can erode genetic differentiation between species, whereas reproductive isolation maintains such differentiation. In studying a hybrid zone between the swallowtail butterflies Papilio syfanius and Papilio maackii (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae), we made the unexpected discovery that genomic substitution rates are unequal between the parental species. This phenomenon creates a novel process in hybridization, where genomic regions most affected by gene flow evolve at similar rates between species, while genomic regions with strong reproductive isolation evolve at species-specific rates. Thus, hybridization mixes evolutionary rates in a way similar to its effect on genetic ancestry. Using coalescent theory, we show that the rate-mixing process provides distinct information about levels of gene flow across different parts of genomes, and the degree of rate-mixing can be predicted quantitatively from relative sequence divergence () between the hybridizing species at equilibrium. Overall, we demonstrate that reproductive isolation maintains not only genomic differentiation, but also the rate at which differentiation accumulates. Thus, asymmetric rates of evolution provide an additional signature of loci involved in reproductive isolation.
Structural and physiological changes in the female reproductive system underlie the origins of pregnancy in multiple vertebrate lineages. In mammals, the glandular portion of the lower reproductive tract has transformed into a structure specialized for supporting fetal development. These specializations range from relatively simple maternal nutrient provisioning in egg-laying monotremes to an elaborate suite of traits that support intimate maternal-fetal interactions in Eutherians. Among these traits are the maternal decidua and fetal component of the placenta, but there is considerable uncertainty about how these structures evolved. Previously we showed that changes in uterine gene expression contributes to several evolutionary innovations during the origins of pregnancy (Marinic, Mika, and Lynch 2021). Here we reconstruct the evolution of entire transcriptomes ('ancestral transcriptome reconstruction') and show that maternal gene expression profiles are correlated with degree of placental invasion. These results indicate that an epitheliochorial-like placenta evolved early in the mammalian stem-lineage and that the ancestor of Eutherians had a hemochorial placenta, and suggest maternal control of placental invasiveness. These data resolve major transitions in the evolution of pregnancy and indicate that ancestral transcriptome reconstruction can be used to study the function of ancestral cell, tissue, and organ systems.