Molecular signature of epistatic selection: interrogating genetic interactions in the sex-ratio meiotic drive of Drosophila simulans

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Abstract

Summary

Fine scale analyses of signatures of selection allow assessing quantitative aspects of a species' evolutionary genetic history, such as the strength of selection on genes. When several selected loci lie in the same genomic region, their epistatic interactions may also be investigated. Here, we study how the neutral polymorphism pattern was shaped by two close recombining loci that cause ‘ sex-ratio’ meiotic drive in Drosophila simulans, as an example of strong selection with potentially strong epistasis. We compare the polymorphism data observed in a natural population with the results of forward stochastic simulations under several contexts of epistasis between the candidate loci for the drive. We compute the likelihood of different possible scenarios, in order to determine which configuration is most consistent with the data. Our results highlight that fine scale analyses of well-chosen candidate genomic regions provide information-rich data that can be used to investigate the genotype-phenotype-fitness map, which can hardly be studied in genome-wide analyses. We also emphasize that initial conditions and time of observation (here, time after the interruption of a partial selective sweep) are crucial parameters in the interpretation of real data, while these are often overlooked in theoretical studies.

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