Browsing Scientific Papers by Subject "natural selection"
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Contrasting responses to selection in class I and class IIα major histocompatibility-linked markers in salmonComparison of levels and patterns of genetic variation in natural populations either across loci or against neutral expectation can yield insight into locus-specific differences in the strength and direction of evolutionary forces. We used both approaches to test the hypotheses on patterns of selection on major histocompatibility (MH)-linked markers. We performed temporal analyses of class I and class IIα MH-linked markers and eight microsatellite loci in two Atlantic salmon populations in Ireland on two temporal scales: over six decades and 9 years in the rivers Burrishoole and Delphi, respectively. We also compared contemporary Burrishoole and Delphi samples with nearby populations for the same loci. On comparing patterns of temporal and spatial differentiation among classes of loci, the class IIα MH-linked marker was consistently identified as an outlier compared with patterns at the other microsatellite loci or neutral expectation. We found higher levels of temporal and spatial heterogeneity in heterozygosity (but not in allelic richness) for the class IIα MH-linked marker compared with microsatellites. Tests on both within- and among-population differentiation are consistent with directional selection acting on the class IIα-linked marker in both temporal and spatial comparisons, but only in temporal comparisons for the class I-linked marker. Our results indicate a complex pattern of selection on MH-linked markers in natural populations of Atlantic salmon. These findings highlight the importance of considering selection on MH-linked markers when using these markers for management and conservation purposes.
Varying disease-mediated selection at different life-history stages of Atlantic salmon in fresh waterLaboratory studies on associations between disease resistance and susceptibility and major histocompatibility (MH) genes in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar have shown the importance of immunogenetics in understanding the capacity of populations to fight specific diseases. However, the occurrence and virulence of pathogens may vary spatially and temporally in the wild, making it more complicated to predict the overall effect that MH genes exert on fitness of natural populations and over several life-history stages. Here we show that MH variability is a significant determinant of salmon survival in fresh water, by comparing observed and expected genotype frequencies at MH and control microsatellite loci at parr and migrant stages in the wild. We found that additive allelic effects at immunogenetic loci were more likely to determine survival than dominance deviation, and that selection on certain MH alleles varied with life stage, possibly owing to varying pathogen prevalence and/or virulence over time. Our results highlight the importance of preserving genetic diversity (particularly at MH loci) in wild populations, so that they have the best chance of adapting to new and increased disease challenges as a result of projected climate warming and increasing aquaculture.