Genetic differentiation in populations of the yellow-necked mouse, Apodemus flavicollis, harbouring B chromosomes in different frequencies
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Two alternative models are used to explain maintenance of polymorphism of B chromosomes (Bs) in populations of a great number of species. The parasitic model suggests deleterious effects of Bs on fitness of carriers, while the heterotic model assumes that, in the absence of drive, equilibrium is produced by beneficial effects of Bs at low numbers. In order to determine the potential contribution of Bs to genetic differentiation and diversity, four populations of Apodemus flavicollis, differing in frequency of Bs (from 0.23 to 0.38) and settled in ecologically different habitats, were analyzed by 471 AFLP markers. Although numerous loci were demonstrated to be population specific, none of them was associated with individuals with Bs. AMOVA showed that the presence of Bs does not affect population differentiation, pointing to greater genetic similarity of Bs to A chromosomes. The greatest genetic diversity (0.241) was found in the population settled in optimal conditions for this species featured by the lowest frequency of animals with Bs (0.23). We found that the majority of loci marked as loci under directional selection, are characteristic of either a population with lower or one with a higher frequency of Bs. Several loci detected as outliers were associated with environmental variables that could directly and/or indirectly influence population dynamics of A. flavicollis. Thus, we suggest that the different frequency of Bs carriers in populations is related to adaptive differentiation to diverse habitats, which is in accordance with the heterotic model of Bs maintenance.
Source:Population Ecology, 2012, 54, 4, 7-548