Stephan Schiffels

Population Genetics – Computational Methods - Human History

Malinsky et al. 2015

Genomic islands of speciation separate cichlid ecomorphs in an East African crater lake. Science. Published December 18, 2015.

Authors: Milan Malinsky, Richard J Challis, Alexandra M Tyers, Stephan Schiffels, Yohey Terai, Benjamin P Ngatunga, Eric A Miska, Richard Durbin, Martin J Genner and George F Turner

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Abstract: The genomic causes and effects of divergent ecological selection during speciation are still poorly understood. Here we report the discovery and detailed characterization of early-stage adaptive divergence of two cichlid fish ecomorphs in a small (700 meters in diameter) isolated crater lake in Tanzania. The ecomorphs differ in depth preference, male breeding color, body shape, diet, and trophic morphology. With whole-genome sequences of 146 fish, we identified 98 clearly demarcated genomic ``islands'' of high differentiation and demonstrated the association of genotypes across these islands with divergent mate preferences. The islands contain candidate adaptive genes enriched for functions in sensory perception (including rhodopsin and other twilight-vision-associated genes), hormone signaling, and morphogenesis. Our study suggests mechanisms and genomic regions that may play a role in the closely related mega-radiation of Lake Malawi.