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Open AccessArticle

Landscape Genomics of a Widely Distributed Snake, Dolichophis caspius (Gmelin, 1789) across Eastern Europe and Western Asia

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Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Vetmeduni Vienna, Savoyenstrasse 1, A-1160 Vienna, Austria
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Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Ave, Cardiff CF103AX, UK
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Fundación Charles Darwin, Avenida Charles Darwin s/n, Casilla 200144, Puerto Ayora EC-200350, Ecuador
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Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Veterinary Public Health, Vetmeduni Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria
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Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Josefstädter Straße 39, A-1080 Vienna, Austria
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MME Birdlife Hungary, Költő utca 21., H-1121 Budapest, Hungary
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Lendület Evolutionary Ecology Research Group, Centre for Agricultural Research, Plant Protection Institute, Herman Ottó út 15., H-1022 Budapest, Hungary
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Mátra Museum of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Kossuth Lajos utca 40., H-3200 Gyöngyös, Hungary
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Association HYLA, Lipocac I., No. 7, C-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Independent Researcher, Hielscherstraße 25, D-13158 Berlin, Germany
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Department of Zoology, Comenius University in Bratislava, Ilkovičova 6, Mlynská Dolina, S-84215 Bratislava, Slovakia
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Department of Biodiversity Studies and Ecological Monitoring, T. I. Vyazemsky Karadag Scientific Station–Nature Reserve–Branch of Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nauki Street 24, R-298188 Theodosia, Crimea
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Department of Herpetology, Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya Embankment 1, R-199034 Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Department of Zoology, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Baross u. 13., H-1088 Budapest, Hungary
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Molecular Taxonomy Laboratory, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Ludovika tér 2-6., H-1083 Budapest, Hungary
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1218; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101218
Received: 31 August 2020 / Revised: 2 October 2020 / Accepted: 15 October 2020 / Published: 17 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genome Diversity of Adaptation and Speciation)
Across the distribution of the Caspian whipsnake (Dolichophis caspius), populations have become increasingly disconnected due to habitat alteration. To understand population dynamics and this widespread but locally endangered snake’s adaptive potential, we investigated population structure, admixture, and effective migration patterns. We took a landscape-genomic approach to identify selected genotypes associated with environmental variables relevant to D. caspius. With double-digest restriction-site associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing of 53 samples resulting in 17,518 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we identified 8 clusters within D. caspius reflecting complex evolutionary patterns of the species. Estimated Effective Migration Surfaces (EEMS) revealed higher-than-average gene flow in most of the Balkan Peninsula and lower-than-average gene flow along the middle section of the Danube River. Landscape genomic analysis identified 751 selected genotypes correlated with 7 climatic variables. Isothermality correlated with the highest number of selected genotypes (478) located in 41 genes, followed by annual range (127) and annual mean temperature (87). We conclude that environmental variables, especially the day-to-night temperature oscillation in comparison to the summer-to-winter oscillation, may have an important role in the distribution and adaptation of D. caspius. View Full-Text
Keywords: adaptive evolution; Caspian whipsnake; ddRAD; environmental correlates; genetic diversity adaptive evolution; Caspian whipsnake; ddRAD; environmental correlates; genetic diversity
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Mahtani-Williams, S.; Fulton, W.; Desvars-Larrive, A.; Lado, S.; Elbers, J.P.; Halpern, B.; Herczeg, D.; Babocsay, G.; Lauš, B.; Nagy, Z.T.; Jablonski, D.; Kukushkin, O.; Orozco-terWengel, P.; Vörös, J.; Burger, P.A. Landscape Genomics of a Widely Distributed Snake, Dolichophis caspius (Gmelin, 1789) across Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Genes 2020, 11, 1218.

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