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Species groups distributed across elevational gradients reveal convergent and continuous genetic adaptation to high elevations.

A new interesting article has been published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Oct 22. pii: 201813593. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1813593115. [Epub ahead of print] and titled:

Species groups distributed across elevational gradients reveal convergent and continuous genetic adaptation to high elevations.

Authors of this article are:

Sun YB, Fu TT, Jin JQ, Murphy RW, Hillis DM, Zhang YP,, Che J.

A summary of the article is shown below:

Although many cases of genetic adaptations to high elevations have been reported, the processes driving these modifications and the pace of their evolution remain unclear. Many high-elevation adaptations (HEAs) are thought to have arisen in situ as populations rose with growing mountains. In contrast, most high-elevation lineages of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau appear to have colonized from low-elevation areas. These lineages provide an opportunity for studying recent HEAs and comparing them with ancestral low-elevation alternatives. Herein, we compare four frogs (three species of Nanorana and a close lowland relative) and four lizards (Phrynocephalus) that inhabit a range of elevations on or along the slopes of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The sequential cladogenesis of these species across an elevational gradient allows us to examine the gradual accumulation of HEA at increasing elevations. Many adaptations to high elevations appear to arise gradually and evolve continuously with increasing elevational distributions. Numerous related functions, especially DNA repair and energy metabolism pathways, exhibit rapid change and continuous positive selection with increasing elevations. Although the two studied genera are distantly related, they exhibit numerous convergent evolutionary changes, especially at the functional level. This functional convergence appears to be more extensive than convergence at the individual gene level, although we found 32 homologous genes undergoing positive selection for change in both high-elevation groups. We argue that species groups distributed along a broad elevational gradient provide a more powerful system for testing adaptations to high-elevation environments compared with studies that compare only pairs of high-elevation versus low-elevation species.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as:

DNA repair;Nanorana;Phrynocephalus;altitudinal gradient;high-elevation adaptation

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