Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science

UPPMAX resources used for Science publication on Darwin's finches

2016-05-10

UPPMAX resources were used for a publication in Science on the the discovery of a major gene locus associated with changes in beak size that apparently facilitated a rapid ecological diversification in the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches.

A beak size locus in Darwin’s finches facilitated character displacement during a drought 

Sangeet Lamichhaney, Fan Han, Jonas Berglund, Chao Wang, Markus Sällman Almén, Matthew T. Webster, B. Rosemary Grant, Peter R. Grant, Leif Andersson

doi: 10.1126/science.aad8786

Abstract: Ecological character displacement is a process of morphological divergence that reduces competition for limited resources. We used genomic analysis to investigate the genetic basis of a documented character displacement event in Darwin’s finches on Daphne Major in the Galápagos Islands: The medium ground finch diverged from its competitor, the large ground finch, during a severe drought. We discovered a genomic region containing the HMGA2 gene that varies systematically among Darwin’s finch species with different beak sizes. Two haplotypes that diverged early in the radiation were involved in the character displacement event: Genotypes associated with large beak size were at a strong selective disadvantage in medium ground finches (selection coefficient s = 0.59). Thus, a major locus has apparently facilitated a rapid ecological diversification in the adaptive radiation of Darwin’s finches. 

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