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Investigating the genomic basis of discrete phenotypes using a Pool‐Seq‐only approach: New insights into the genetics underlying colour variation in diverse taxa

Neethiraj, Ramprasad, Hornett, Emily A., Hill, Jason A., Wheat, Christopher W.
Molecular ecology 2017 v.26 no.19 pp. 4990-5002
birds, butterflies, color, data collection, genome, genome assembly, genomics, morphs, phenotype, single nucleotide polymorphism
While large‐scale genomic approaches are increasingly revealing the genetic basis of polymorphic phenotypes such as colour morphs, such approaches are almost exclusively conducted in species with high‐quality genomes and annotations. Here, we use Pool‐Seq data for both genome assembly and SNP frequency estimation, followed by scanning for FST outliers to identify divergent genomic regions. Using paired‐end, short‐read sequencing data from two groups of individuals expressing divergent phenotypes, we generate a de novo rough‐draft genome, identify SNPs and calculate genomewide FST differences between phenotypic groups. As genomes generated by Pool‐Seq data are highly fragmented, we also present an approach for super‐scaffolding contigs using existing protein‐coding data sets. Using this approach, we reanalysed genomic data from two recent studies of birds and butterflies investigating colour pattern variation and replicated their core findings, demonstrating the accuracy and power of a Pool‐Seq‐only approach. Additionally, we discovered new regions of high divergence and new annotations that together suggest novel parallels between birds and butterflies in the origins of their colour pattern variation.