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BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 9:288

First Online: 10 December 2009Received: 21 July 2009Accepted: 10 December 2009


BackgroundThe evolutionary success of phytophagous insects could result from their adaptation to different host-plants. Alternatively, the diversification of widespread species might be driven by adaptation along environmental gradients. To disentangle the respective roles of host-plant versus abiotic environmental variables acting on the genome of an oligophagous insect, we performed a genome scan using 83 unlinked AFLP markers on larvae of the large pine weevil collected on two host-plants pine and spruce in four forestry regions across Europe.

ResultsAt this large geographic scale, the global genetic differentiation was low and there was no isolation by distance pattern, suggesting that migration is overwhelming genetic drift in this species. In this context, the widely used frequentist methods to detect outliers e.g. Dfdist, which assume migration - drift equilibrium are not the most appropriate approach. The implementation of a recently developed Bayesian approach, conceived to detect outliers even in non-equilibrium situations, consistently detected 9 out of 83 loci as outliers. Eight of these were validated as outliers by multiple logistic regressions: six correlated with environmental variables, one with host-plant and one with the interaction between environmental variables and host-plant.

ConclusionThese results suggest a relatively greater importance of abiotic environmental variables, as opposed to factors linked with the host-plant, in shaping genetic differentiation across the genome in this species. Logistic regression allows the nature of factors involved in locus-specific selection to be precisely identified and represents another step forward in the process of identifying adaptive loci.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2148-9-288 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Stéphanie Manel - Cyrille Conord - Laurence Després


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