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Hybridization alters the shape of the genotypic fitness landscape, increasing access to novel fitness peaks during adaptive radiation

Citation

Patton, Austin et al. (2022), Hybridization alters the shape of the genotypic fitness landscape, increasing access to novel fitness peaks during adaptive radiation, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0vt4b8h0m

Abstract

Estimating the complex relationship between fitness and genotype or phenotype (i.e. the adaptive landscape) is one of the central goals of evolutionary biology. However, adaptive walks connecting genotypes to organismal fitness, speciation, and novel ecological niches are still poorly understood and processes for surmounting fitness valleys remain controversial. One outstanding system for addressing these connections is a recent adaptive radiation of ecologically and morphologically novel pupfishes (a generalist, molluscivore, and scale-eater) endemic to San Salvador Island, Bahamas. We leveraged whole-genome sequencing of 139 hybrids from two independent field fitness experiments to identify the genomic basis of fitness, estimate genotypic fitness networks, and measure the accessibility of adaptive walks on the fitness landscape. We identified 132 SNPs that were significantly associated with fitness in field enclosures. Six out of the 13 regions most strongly associated with fitness contained differentially expressed genes and fixed SNPs between trophic specialists; one gene (mettl21e) was also misexpressed in lab-reared hybrids, suggesting a potential intrinsic genetic incompatibility. We then constructed genotypic fitness networks from adaptive alleles and show that scale-eating specialists are the most isolated of the three species on these networks. Intriguingly, introgressed and de novo variants reduced fitness landscape ruggedness as compared to standing variation, increasing the accessibility of genotypic fitness paths from generalist to specialists. Our results suggest that adaptive introgression and de novo mutations alter the shape of the fitness landscape, providing key connections in adaptive walks circumventing fitness valleys and triggering the evolution of novelty during adaptive radiation.

Funding

National Institutes of Health, Award: S10 OD018174

National Institutes of Health, Award: 5R01DE027052‐02

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB CAREER 1749764

National Science Foundation, Award: PRFB 2109838