Genomic signatures of experimental adaptive radiation in Drosophila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Abstract Abiotic environmental factors play a fundamental role in determining the distribution, abundance, and adaptive diversification of species. Empowered by new technologies enabling rapid and increasingly accurate examination of genomic variation in populations, researchers may gain new insights into the genomic background of adaptive radiation and stress resistance. We investigated genomic variation across generations of large-scale experimental selection regimes originating from a single founder population of Drosophila melanogaster, diverging in response to ecologically relevant environmental stressors: heat shock, heat knock down, cold shock, desiccation, and starvation. When compared to the founder population, and to parallel unselected controls, there were more than 100,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) displaying consistent allelic changes in response to selective pressures across generations. These SNPs were found in both coding and noncoding sequences, with the highest density in promoter regions, and involved a broad range of functionalities, including molecular chaperoning by heat shock proteins. The SNP patterns were highly stressor-specific despite considerable variation among line replicates within each selection regime, as reflected by a principal component analysis, and co-occurred with selective sweep regions. Only 15% of SNPs with putatively adaptive changes were shared by at least two selective regimes, while less than 1% of SNPs diverged in opposite directions. Divergent stressors driving evolution in the experimental system of adaptive radiation left distinct genomic signatures, most pronounced in starvation and heat shock selection regimes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


  • Pawel Michalak
  • Lin Kang
  • Mads F. Schou
  • Harold R. Garner
  • Volker Loeschcke
External organisations
  • Aarhus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalMolecular Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes