Evolution

One problem, several solutions

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Science  16 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6539, pp. 251
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6539.251-a

The deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, and its relatives have special genomic signatures for survival under desert conditions.

PHOTO: CHIEN LEE/MINDEN PICTURES

Climate change is increasing desertification and increasing demands on heat and desiccation tolerance. To understand how species adapt to similar challenging environments, Colella et al. undertook a comparative genomic study of three species of Peromyscus mice that live in overlapping arid North American environments. Peromyscus maniculatus and Peromyscus eremicus are more closely related to each other than to Peromyscus crinitus. However, P. maniculatus occupies a broad range of habitats, and P. eremicus and P. crinitus are restricted to desert environments. The genes under selection for the desert species were found to be functionally similar, but overlapping selection was only observed for a gene involved in ribosomal function. Selective sweeps within the Peromyscus genomes have occurred, but each species appears to be under selection for different genes rather than following parallel evolutionary tracks. Therefore, even under similar environmental pressures, species can show different genomic adaptations.

J. Hered. esab009 (2021).

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