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Mol Biol Evol. 2006 Apr;23(4):773-83. Epub 2006 Jan 5.

Explorative genome scan to detect candidate loci for adaptation along a gradient of altitude in the common frog (Rana temporaria).

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, CNRS-UMR 5553, Universit√© Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France. aurelie.bonin@ujf-grenoble.fr


Today, with the rapid development of population genomics, the genetic basis of adaptation can be unraveled directly at the genome level, without any prerequisites about the selectively advantageous genes or traits. For nonmodel species, it is now possible to screen many markers randomly scattered across the genome and to distinguish between the neutral genetic background and outlier loci displaying an atypical behavior (e.g., a higher differentiation between populations). This study investigated the genetic frame of adaptation to a gradient of altitude in the common frog (Rana temporaria) by means of a genome scan based on 392 amplified fragment length polymorphism markers. Using two outlier detection methods never applied to dominant data so far, we sought for loci with a genetic differentiation diverging from neutral expectations when comparing populations from different altitudes. All the detected loci were sorted out according to their most probable cause for outlier behavior and classified as false positives, outliers due to local effects, or outliers associated with altitude. Altogether, eight good candidate loci were identified as potentially involved in adaptation to altitude because they were picked out in several independent interaltitude comparisons. This result illustrated the potential of genome-wide surveys to reveal selection signatures along selection gradients, where the association between environmental variables and fitness-related traits may be complex and/or cryptic. In this article, we also underlined the need for confirmation of the selection footprints for the outlier loci. Finally, we provided some preliminary insights into the genetic basis of adaptation along an altitudinal cline in the common frog.

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