Genetic signatures of natural selection in a model invasive ascidian

Lin, Yaping, Yiyong, Chen, Changho, Yi, Fong, Jonathan J., Kim, Won, Rius, Marc and Zhan, Aibin (2017) Genetic signatures of natural selection in a model invasive ascidian Nature Scientific Reports, 7 (doi:10.1038/srep44080).


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Invasive species represent promising models to study species’ responses to rapidly changing environments. Although local adaptation frequently occurs during contemporary range expansion, the associated genetic signatures at both population and genomic levels remain largely unknown. Here, we use genome-wide gene-associated microsatellites to investigate genetic signatures of natural selection in a model invasive ascidian, Ciona robusta. Population genetic analyses of 150 individuals sampled in Korea, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain showed significant genetic differentiation among populations. Based on outlier tests, we found high incidence of signatures of directional selection at 19 loci. Hitchhiking mapping analyses identified 12 directional selective sweep regions, and all selective sweep windows on chromosomes were narrow (~8.9 kb). Further analyses indentified 132 candidate genes under selection. When we compared our genetic data and six crucial environmental variables, 16 putatively selected loci showed significant correlation with these environmental variables. This suggests that the local environmental conditions have left significant signatures of selection at both population and genomic levels. Finally, we identified “plastic” genomic regions and genes that are promising regions to investigate evolutionary responses to rapid environmental change in C. robusta.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1038/srep44080
Organisations: Marine Biology & Ecology
ePrint ID: 406836
Date :
Date Event
7 February 2017Accepted/In Press
7 March 2017Published
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2017 02:02
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 16:32
Further Information:Google Scholar

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