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Complex patterns shape immune genes diversity during invasion of common raccoon in Europe – selection in action despite genetic drift

Cite this dataset

Konopiński, Maciej; Fijarczyk, Anna; Biedrzycka, Aleksandra (2022). Complex patterns shape immune genes diversity during invasion of common raccoon in Europe – selection in action despite genetic drift [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.44j0zpcj1

Abstract

Rapid adaptation is common in invasive populations and is crucial to their long-term success. The primary target of selection in the invasive species’ new range is standing genetic variation. Therefore, genetic drift and natural selection acting on existing variation are key evolutionary processes through which invaders will evolve over a short timescale. In this study, we used the case of the raccoon Procyon lotor invasion in Europe to identify the forces shaping the diversity of immune genes during invasion. The genes involved in the defence against infection should be under intense selection pressure in the invasive range where novel pathogens are expected to occur. To disentangle the selective and demographic processes shaping the adaptive immune diversity of its invasive and expanding populations, we have developed species-specific SNP markers located in the coding regions of targeted immune-related genes. We characterised the genetic diversity of 110 functionally important immune genes in two invasive and one native raccoon genetic clusters, each presenting a different demographic history. Despite the strong effect of demographic processes in the invasive clusters, we detected a subset of genes exhibiting the diversity pattern suggestive of selection. The most likely process shaping the variation in those genes was balancing selection. The selected genes belong to toll-like receptors and cytokine-related genes. Our results suggest that the prevalence of selection depends on the level of diversity, i.e. – less genetically diverse invasive population from Czech Republic displayed fewer signs of selection. Our results highlight the role of standing genetic variation in adapting to a new environment. Understanding the evolutionary mechanisms behind invasion success would enable predicting how populations may respond to environmental change.

Methods

The methods were described in detail in the article and the supplementary files (https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.13517)

Funding

National Science Center, Award: 2020/37/B/NZ8/03801

National Science Center, Award: 2014/15/B/NZ8/00261

Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences