Faculté des sciences

Demographic history of a recent invasion of house mice on the isolated Island of Gough

Gray, Melissa M. ; Wegmann, Daniel ; Haasl, Ryan J. ; White, Michael A. ; Gabriel, Sofia I. ; Searle, Jeremy B. ; Cuthbert, Richard J. ; Ryan, Peter G. ; Payseur, Bret A.

In: Molecular Ecology, 2014, vol. 23, no. 8, p. 1923–1939

Island populations provide natural laboratories for studying key contributors to evolutionary change, including natural selection, population size and the colonization of new environments. The demographic histories of island populations can be reconstructed from patterns of genetic diversity. House mice (Mus musculus) inhabit islands throughout the globe, making them an attractive system for... More

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    Summary
    Island populations provide natural laboratories for studying key contributors to evolutionary change, including natural selection, population size and the colonization of new environments. The demographic histories of island populations can be reconstructed from patterns of genetic diversity. House mice (Mus musculus) inhabit islands throughout the globe, making them an attractive system for studying island colonization from a genetic perspective. Gough Island, in the central South Atlantic Ocean, is one of the remotest islands in the world. House mice were introduced to Gough Island by sealers during the 19th century and display unusual phenotypes, including exceptionally large body size and carnivorous feeding behaviour. We describe genetic variation in Gough Island mice using mitochondrial sequences, nuclear sequences and microsatellites. Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial sequences suggested that Gough Island mice belong to Mus musculus domesticus, with the maternal lineage possibly originating in England or France. Cluster analyses of microsatellites revealed genetic membership for Gough Island mice in multiple coastal populations in Western Europe, suggesting admixed ancestry. Gough Island mice showed substantial reductions in mitochondrial and nuclear sequence variation and weak reductions in microsatellite diversity compared with Western European populations, consistent with a population bottleneck. Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) estimated that mice recently colonized Gough Island (~100 years ago) and experienced a 98% reduction in population size followed by a rapid expansion. Our results indicate that the unusual phenotypes of Gough Island mice evolved rapidly, positioning these mice as useful models for understanding rapid phenotypic evolution.