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Ecological adaptation in European eels is based on phenotypic plasticity

Enbody, Erik D. and Pettersson, Mats E. and Sprehn, C. Grace and Palm, Stefan and Wickström, Håkan and Andersson, Leif (2021). Ecological adaptation in European eels is based on phenotypic plasticity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 118 , e2022620118
[Research article]

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Abstract

The relative role of genetic adaptation and phenotypic plasticity is of fundamental importance in evolutionary ecology [M. J. West-Eberhard, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 102 (suppl. 1), 6543-6549 (2005)]. European eels have a complex life cycle, including transitions between life stages across ecological conditions in the Sargasso Sea, where spawning occurs, and those in brackish and freshwater bodies from northern Europe to northern Africa. Whether continental eel populations consist of locally adapted and genetically distinct populations or comprise a single panmictic population has received conflicting support. Here we use whole-genome sequencing and show that European eels belong to one panmictic population. A complete lack of geographical genetic differentiation is demonstrated. We postulate that this is possible because the most critical life stages-spawning and embryonic development-take place under near-identical conditions in the Sargasso Sea. We further show that within-generation selection, which has recently been proposed as a mechanism for genetic adaptation in eels, can only marginally change allele frequencies between cohorts of eels from different geographic regions. Our results strongly indicate plasticity as the predominant mechanism for how eels respond to diverse environmental conditions during postlarval stages, ultimately solving a long-standing question for a classically enigmatic species.

Authors/Creators:Enbody, Erik D. and Pettersson, Mats E. and Sprehn, C. Grace and Palm, Stefan and Wickström, Håkan and Andersson, Leif
Title:Ecological adaptation in European eels is based on phenotypic plasticity
Series Name/Journal:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:118
Article number:e2022620118
Number of Pages:6
Publisher:NATL ACAD SCIENCES
ISSN:0027-8424
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Evolutionary Biology
Keywords:adaptation, panmixia, plasticity, genome biology
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-111069
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-111069
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1073/pnas.2022620118
Web of Science (WoS)000612945500073
ID Code:22847
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(NL, NJ) > Department of Aquatic Resources
(VH) > Dept. of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:26 Mar 2021 15:23
Metadata Last Modified:26 Mar 2021 15:31

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