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Modeling the two-locus architecture of divergent pollinator adaptation: How variation in SAD paralogs affects fitness and evolutionary divergence in sexually deceptive orchids


Xu, Shuqing; Schlüter, Philipp M (2015). Modeling the two-locus architecture of divergent pollinator adaptation: How variation in SAD paralogs affects fitness and evolutionary divergence in sexually deceptive orchids. Ecology and Evolution, 5(2):493-502.

Abstract

Divergent selection by pollinators can bring about strong reproductive isolation via changes at few genes of large effect. This has recently been demonstrated in sexually deceptive orchids, where studies (1) quantified the strength of reproductive isolation in the field; (2) identified genes that appear to be causal for reproductive isolation; and (3) demonstrated selection by analysis of natural variation in gene sequence and expression. In a group of closely related Ophrys orchids, specific floral scent components, namely n-alkenes, are the key floral traits that control specific pollinator attraction by chemical mimicry of insect sex pheromones. The genetic basis of species-specific differences in alkene production mainly lies in two biosynthetic genes encoding stearoyl–acyl carrier protein desaturases (SAD) that are associated with floral scent variation and reproductive isolation between closely related species, and evolve under pollinator-mediated selection. However, the implications of this genetic architecture of key floral traits on the evolutionary processes of pollinator adaptation and speciation in this plant group remain unclear. Here, we expand on these recent findings to model scenarios of adaptive evolutionary change at SAD2 and SAD5, their effects on plant fitness (i.e., offspring number), and the dynamics of speciation. Our model suggests that the two-locus architecture of reproductive isolation allows for rapid sympatric speciation by pollinator shift; however, the likelihood of such pollinator-mediated speciation is asymmetric between the two orchid species O. sphegodes and O. exaltata due to different fitness effects of their predominant SAD2 and SAD5 alleles. Our study not only provides insight into pollinator adaptation and speciation mechanisms of sexually deceptive orchids but also demonstrates the power of applying a modeling approach to the study of pollinator-driven ecological speciation.

Abstract

Divergent selection by pollinators can bring about strong reproductive isolation via changes at few genes of large effect. This has recently been demonstrated in sexually deceptive orchids, where studies (1) quantified the strength of reproductive isolation in the field; (2) identified genes that appear to be causal for reproductive isolation; and (3) demonstrated selection by analysis of natural variation in gene sequence and expression. In a group of closely related Ophrys orchids, specific floral scent components, namely n-alkenes, are the key floral traits that control specific pollinator attraction by chemical mimicry of insect sex pheromones. The genetic basis of species-specific differences in alkene production mainly lies in two biosynthetic genes encoding stearoyl–acyl carrier protein desaturases (SAD) that are associated with floral scent variation and reproductive isolation between closely related species, and evolve under pollinator-mediated selection. However, the implications of this genetic architecture of key floral traits on the evolutionary processes of pollinator adaptation and speciation in this plant group remain unclear. Here, we expand on these recent findings to model scenarios of adaptive evolutionary change at SAD2 and SAD5, their effects on plant fitness (i.e., offspring number), and the dynamics of speciation. Our model suggests that the two-locus architecture of reproductive isolation allows for rapid sympatric speciation by pollinator shift; however, the likelihood of such pollinator-mediated speciation is asymmetric between the two orchid species O. sphegodes and O. exaltata due to different fitness effects of their predominant SAD2 and SAD5 alleles. Our study not only provides insight into pollinator adaptation and speciation mechanisms of sexually deceptive orchids but also demonstrates the power of applying a modeling approach to the study of pollinator-driven ecological speciation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:04 Feb 2015 14:35
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 10:08
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2045-7758
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1378
PubMed ID:25691974

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