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Boell L.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Tautz D.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2011

Abstract. Background: Insights into the micro-evolutionary patterns of morphological traits require an assessment of the natural variation of the trait within and between populations and closely related species. The mouse mandible is a particularly suitable morphological trait for such an analysis, since it has long been used as a model to study the quantitative genetics of shape. In addition, many distinct populations, sub-species and closely related species are known for the house mouse. However, morphological comparisons among wild caught animals require an assessment in how far environmental and technical factors could interfere with the shape change measurements. Results: Using geometric morphometrics, we have surveyed mandible shapes in 15 natural populations of the genus Mus, with a focus on the subspecies Mus musculus domesticus. In parallel we have carefully assessed possibly confounding technical and biological factors. We find that there are distinct differences on average between populations, subspecies and species, but these differences are smaller than differences between individuals within populations. Populations from summer-dry regions, although more ancestral, are less distinct from each other than are populations from the more recently colonized northern areas. Populations with especially distinct shapes occur in an area of sympatry of M. m. domesticus and M. spretus and on recently colonized sub-antarctic islands. We have also studied a number of inbred strains to assess in how far their mandible shapes resemble those from the wild. We find that they fall indeed into the shape space of natural variation between individuals in populations. Conclusions: Although mandible shapes in natural populations can be influenced by environmental variables, these influences are insufficient to explain the average extent of shape differences between populations, such that evolutionary processes must be invoked to explain this level of diversity. We discuss that adaptive evolution may contribute to shape changes between populations, in particular in newly colonized areas. A comparison between inbred strains and wild mice suggests that the laboratory environment has no major systematic effect on the mandible shape and that such strains can be used as representatives of the natural shape differences between individuals. © 2011Boell and Tautz; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Zschaler G.,Max Planck Institute For Physik Komplexer Systeme | Traulsen A.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Gross T.,Max Planck Institute For Physik Komplexer Systeme
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2010

We consider the evolutionary dynamics of a cooperative game on an adaptive network, where the strategies of agents (cooperation or defection) feed back on their local interaction topology. While mutual cooperation is the social optimum, unilateral defection yields a higher payoff and undermines the evolution of cooperation. Although no a priori advantage is given to cooperators, an intrinsic dynamical mechanism can lead asymptotically to a state of full cooperation. In finite systems, this state is characterized by long periods of strong cooperation interrupted by sudden episodes of predominant defection, suggesting a possible mechanism for the systemic failure of cooperation in realworld systems. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Tautz D.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Domazet-Loso T.,University of Kiel | Domazet-Loso T.,Ruder Boskovic Institute
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2011

Gene evolution has long been thought to be primarily driven by duplication and rearrangement mechanisms. However, every evolutionary lineage harbours orphan genes that lack homologues in other lineages and whose evolutionary origin is only poorly understood. Orphan genes might arise from duplication and rearrangement processes followed by fast divergence; however, de novo evolution out of non-coding genomic regions is emerging as an important additional mechanism. This process appears to provide raw material continuously for the evolution of new gene functions, which can become relevant for lineage-specific adaptations. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

van Veelen M.,University of Amsterdam | Garcia J.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Sabelis M.W.,University of Amsterdam | Egas M.,University of Amsterdam
Journal of Theoretical Biology | Year: 2012

It is often suggested that any group selection model can be recast in terms of inclusive fitness. A standard reference to support that claim is "'Quantitative genetics, inclusive fitness, and group selection" by Queller (1992) in the American Naturalist 139 (3), 540-558. In that paper the Price equation is used for the derivation of this claim. Instead of a general derivation, we try out a simple model. For this simple example, we find that the result does not hold. The non-equivalence of group selection and kin selection is therefore not only an important finding in itself, but also a case where the use of the Price equation leads to a claim that is not correct. If results that are arrived at with the Price equation are not correct, they can typically be repaired by adding extra assumptions, or explicitly stating implicit ones. We give examples with relatively mild and with less mild extra assumptions. We also discuss why the Price equation is often referred to as dynamically insufficient, and we try to find out what Price's theorem could be. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Domazet-Loso T.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Domazet-Loso T.,Ruder Boskovic Institute | Tautz D.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie
BMC Biology | Year: 2010

Background: Phylostratigraphy is a method used to correlate the evolutionary origin of founder genes (that is, functional founder protein domains) of gene families with particular macroevolutionary transitions. It is based on a model of genome evolution that suggests that the origin of complex phenotypic innovations will be accompanied by the emergence of such founder genes, the descendants of which can still be traced in extant organisms. The origin of multicellularity can be considered to be a macroevolutionary transition, for which new gene functions would have been required. Cancer should be tightly connected to multicellular life since it can be viewed as a malfunction of interaction between cells in a multicellular organism. A phylostratigraphic tracking of the origin of cancer genes should, therefore, also provide insights into the origin of multicellularity.Results: We find two strong peaks of the emergence of cancer related protein domains, one at the time of the origin of the first cell and the other around the time of the evolution of the multicellular metazoan organisms. These peaks correlate with two major classes of cancer genes, the 'caretakers', which are involved in general functions that support genome stability and the 'gatekeepers', which are involved in cellular signalling and growth processes. Interestingly, this phylogenetic succession mirrors the ontogenetic succession of tumour progression, where mutations in caretakers are thought to precede mutations in gatekeepers.Conclusions: A link between multicellularity and formation of cancer has often been predicted. However, this has not so far been explicitly tested. Although we find that a significant number of protein domains involved in cancer predate the origin of multicellularity, the second peak of cancer protein domain emergence is, indeed, connected to a phylogenetic level where multicellular animals have emerged. The fact that we can find a strong and consistent signal for this second peak in the phylostratigraphic map implies that a complex multi-level selection process has driven the transition to multicellularity. © 2010 Domazet-Lošo and Tautz; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Scavetta R.J.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Tautz D.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2010

Copy number variation (CNV) contributes significantly to natural genetic variation within and between populations. However, the mutational mechanisms leading to CNV, as well as the processes that control the size of CNV regions, are so far not well understood. Here, we have analyzed a gene family that forms CNV regions on the X and the Y chromosomes in Mus musculus. These CNV regions show copy number differences in two subspecies, M. musculus domesticus and M. musculus musculus. Assessment of copy numbers at these loci for individuals caught in a natural hybrid zone showed copy number increases and a large variance among individuals. Crosses of natural hybrid animals among each other produced even more extreme variants with major differences in copy number in the offspring from the same parents. To assess the inheritance pattern of the loci further, we have produced F1 and backcross hybrid animals from these subspecies. We found that copy number expansions can already be traced in F1 offspring and they became stronger in the backcross individuals. Specific analysis of hybrid male offspring indicated that neither meiotic recombination nor interchromosomal exchange was required for creating these changes because the X and Y chromosomes have no homologues in males. This suggests that intrachromosomal exchanges can drive CNV and that this can occur at an elevated frequency in interspecific crosses, even within an individual. Accordingly, we find copy number mosaicism in individuals, that is, DNA from different tissues of the same individual can have different copy numbers for the loci studied. A preliminary survey of autosomal loci suggests that these can also be subject to change in hybrids. Hence, we conclude that the effects we see are not only restricted to some specific loci but may also be caused by a general induction of replication-coupled repair processes. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved.

Boell L.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Gregorova S.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Forejt J.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Tautz D.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2011

Background: Expectations of repeatedly finding associations between given genes and phenotypes have been borne out by studies of parallel evolution, especially for traits involving absence or presence of characters. However, it has rarely been asked whether the genetic basis of quantitative trait variation is conserved at the intra- or even at the interspecific level. This question is especially relevant for shape, where the high dimensionality of variation seems to require a highly complex genetic architecture involving many genes. Results: We analyse here the genetic effects of chromosome substitution strains carrying M. m. musculus chromosomes in a largely M. m. domesticus background on mandible shape and compare them to the results of previously published QTL mapping data between M. m. domesticus strains. We find that the distribution of genetic effects and effect sizes across the genome is consistent between the studies, while the specific shape changes associated with the chromosomes are different. We find also that the sum of the effects from the different M. m. musculus chromosomes is very different from the shape of the strain from which they were derived, as well as all known wild type shapes. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the relative chromosome-wide effect sizes are comparable between the long separated subspecies M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus, hinting at a relative stability of genes involved in this complex trait. However, the absolute effect sizes and the effect directions may be allele-dependent, or are context dependent, i.e. epistatic interactions appear to play an important role in controlling shape. © 2011Boell et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Sonnenberg R.,Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig | Sonnenberg R.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | Schunke A.C.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie
Zoosystematics and Evolution | Year: 2010

The holotype of Fundulus beauforti Ahl, 1924, was studied in order to decide between two different opinions about its taxonomic identity. It was placed by several authors either as synonym to Raddaella batesii (Boulenger, 1911) or Mesoaphyosemion cameronense (Boulenger, 1903). These taxa are easily distinguished by the position of dorsal-fin origin in relation to anal-fin and slightly different numbers of dorsal- and anal-fin rays. As the unpaired fins of the type of F. beauforti are mostly missing, the number and position of the remains of fin rays and pterygophores were estimated by a μCT scan. The results clearly indicate that F. beauforti is a junior synonym of R. batesii. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Boell L.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie
Evolution and Development | Year: 2013

Evolution along "lines of least resistance (LLR)" is a well-established phenomenon, which is ultimately based on variational properties of the developmental system. However, it has remained unclear which aspects of development are responsible for observed distributions of variation. This article suggests that house mouse mandible shape may present an opportunity for future research in this field. The genetic architecture of mouse mandible shape has been investigated in the laboratory, and its evolution has been surveyed in studies on natural variation. Here, I ask whether evolutionary diversification of mandible shape follows "LLR" by comparing principal directions of genetic and evolutionary variation, and I assess the potential contribution of specific genomic regions to evolutionary divergence along these directions. The role of two aspects of development, QTL number (presumably reflecting mutational target size) and canalization, is comparatively assessed. Overall, our results demonstrate a strong tendency of genetic and evolutionary systems to vary along similar directions, suggesting that mandible shape evolves along LLR at the level of populations, subspecies and species. At the level of genetic factors, effects bearing similarity to directions of evolution are significantly overrepresented, providing support for the mutational target size hypothesis. A role for canalization is not supported by a clear correlation between directions of evolution and size of genetic effects; however, the evidence for canalization remains ambiguous. These results provide some insights into how the developmental system may shape the variational properties of genetic systems and thus influence the direction of evolution. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Sestak M.S.,Ruder Boskovic Institute | Bozicevic V.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bakaric R.,Ruder Boskovic Institute | Bakaric R.,Max Planck Institute For Evolutionsbiologie | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Zoology | Year: 2013

Background: The vertebrate head is a highly derived trait with a heavy concentration of sophisticated sensory organs that allow complex behaviour in this lineage. The head sensory structures arise during vertebrate development from cranial placodes and the neural crest. It is generally thought that derivatives of these ectodermal embryonic tissues played a central role in the evolutionary transition at the onset of vertebrates. Despite the obvious importance of head sensory organs for vertebrate biology, their evolutionary history is still uncertain.Results: To give a fresh perspective on the adaptive history of the vertebrate head sensory organs, we applied genomic phylostratigraphy to large-scale in situ expression data of the developing zebrafish Danio rerio. Contrary to traditional predictions, we found that dominant adaptive signals in the analyzed sensory structures largely precede the evolutionary advent of vertebrates. The leading adaptive signals at the bilaterian-chordate transition suggested that the visual system was the first sensory structure to evolve. The olfactory, vestibuloauditory, and lateral line sensory organs displayed a strong link with the urochordate-vertebrate ancestor. The only structures that qualified as genuine vertebrate innovations were the neural crest derivatives, trigeminal ganglion and adenohypophysis. We also found evidence that the cranial placodes evolved before the neural crest despite their proposed embryological relatedness.Conclusions: Taken together, our findings reveal pre-vertebrate roots and a stepwise adaptive history of the vertebrate sensory systems. This study also underscores that large genomic and expression datasets are rich sources of macroevolutionary information that can be recovered by phylostratigraphic mining. © 2013 Šestak et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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