Genome-wide parallelism underlies contemporary adaptation in urban lizards

Kristin M. Winchell, Shane C. Campbell-Staton, Jonathan B. Losos, Liam J. Revell, Brian C. Verrelli, Anthony J. Geneva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Urbanization drastically transforms landscapes, resulting in fragmentation, degradation, and the loss of local biodiversity. Yet, urban environments also offer opportunities to observe rapid evolutionary change in wild populations that survive and even thrive in these novel habitats. In many ways, cities represent replicated “natural experiments” in which geographically separated populations adaptively respond to similar selection pressures over rapid evolutionary timescales. Little is known, however, about the genetic basis of adaptive phenotypic differentiation in urban populations nor the extent to which phenotypic parallelism is reflected at the genomic level with signatures of parallel selection. Here, we analyzed the genomic underpinnings of parallel urban-associated phenotypic change in Anolis cristatellus, a small-bodied neotropical lizard found abundantly in both urbanized and forested environments. We show that phenotypic parallelism in response to parallel urban environmental change is underlain by genomic parallelism and identify candidate loci across the Anolis genome associated with this adaptive morphological divergence. Our findings point to polygenic selection on standing genetic variation as a key process to effectuate rapid morphological adaptation. Identified candidate loci represent several functions associated with skeletomuscular development, morphology, and human disease. Taken together, these results shed light on the genomic basis of complex morphological adaptations, provide insight into the role of contingency and determinism in adaptation to novel environments, and underscore the value of urban environments to address fundamental evolutionary questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2216789120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume120
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 17 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Keywords

  • Anolis
  • parallelism
  • rapid adaptation
  • urban evolution
  • urbanization

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