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Population genetic differentiation and genomic signatures of adaptation to climate in an abundant lizard


Ruiz Minano, M and While, GM and Yang, W and Burridge, CP and Salvi, D and Uller, T, Population genetic differentiation and genomic signatures of adaptation to climate in an abundant lizard, Heredity, 128 pp. 271-278. ISSN 0018-067X (2022) [Refereed Article]

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2021. The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41437-022-00518-0


Species distributed across climatic gradients will typically experience spatial variation in selection, but gene flow can prevent such selection from causing population genetic differentiation and local adaptation. Here, we studied genomic variation of 415 individuals across 34 populations of the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) in central Italy. This species is highly abundant throughout this region and populations belong to a single genetic lineage, yet there is extensive phenotypic variation across climatic regimes. We used redundancy analysis to, first, quantify the effect of climate and geography on population genomic variation in this region and, second, to test if climate consistently sorts specific alleles across the landscape. Climate explained 5% of the population genomic variation across the landscape, about half of which was collinear with geography. Linear models and redundancy analyses identified loci that were significantly differentiated across climatic regimes. These loci were distributed across the genome and physically associated with genes putatively involved in thermal tolerance, regulation of temperature-dependent metabolism and reproductive activity, and body colouration. Together, these findings suggest that climate can exercise sufficient selection in lizards to promote genetic differentiation across the landscape in spite of high gene flow.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:lizard, adaptation, climate, genetic structure, genomic signatures, Italy
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biological adaptation
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Ruiz Minano, M (Dr Maravillas Ruiz Minano)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Associate Professor Geoff While)
UTAS Author:Burridge, CP (Associate Professor Christopher Burridge)
ID Code:149384
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2022-03-28
Last Modified:2022-05-20
Downloads:7 View Download Statistics

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