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Population Genetic Structure of the Grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans in the South and East of the Iberian Peninsula

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059041
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Organismal Evolution
  • Animal Evolution
  • Plant Evolution
  • Population Genetics
  • Gene Flow
  • Genetic Drift
  • Genetic Polymorphism
  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Evolutionary Genetics
  • Evolutionary Processes
  • Genomic Evolution
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Biology


The grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans subsp. plorans harbors a very widespread polymorphism for supernumerary (B) chromosomes which appear to have arisen recently. These chromosomes behave as genomic parasites because they are harmful for the individuals carrying them and show meiotic drive in the initial stages of population invasion. The rapid increase in B chromosome frequency at intrapopulation level is thus granted by meiotic drive, but its spread among populations most likely depends on interpopulation gene flow. We analyze here the population genetic structure in 10 natural populations from two regions (in the south and east) of the Iberian Peninsula. The southern populations were coastal whereas the eastern ones were inland populations located at 260–655 m altitude. The analysis of 97 ISSR markers revealed significant genetic differentiation among populations (average GST =  0.129), and the Structure software and AMOVA indicated a significant genetic differentiation between southern and eastern populations. There was also significant isolation by distance (IBD) between populations. Remarkably, these results were roughly similar to those found when only the markers showing low or no dropout were included, suggesting that allelic dropout had negligible effects on population genetic analysis. We conclude that high gene flow helped this parasitic B chromosome to spread through most of the geographical range of the subspecies E. plorans plorans.

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