Evolution of multiple sex-chromosomes associated with dynamic genome reshuffling in Leptidea wood-white butterflies

Yoshido, A., Šíchová, J., Pospíšilová, K., Nguyen, P., Voleníková, A., Šafář, J., Provazník, J., Vila, R., Marec, F.
HEREDITY 125: 138-154, 2020

Abstract: Sex-chromosome systems tend to be highly conserved and knowledge about their evolution typically comes from macroevolutionary inference. Rapidly evolving complex sex-chromosome systems represent a rare opportunity to study the mechanisms of sex-chromosome evolution at unprecedented resolution. Three cryptic species of wood-white butterflies— Leptidea juvernica, L. sinapis and L. reali—have each a unique set of multiple sex-chromosomes with 3–4 W and 3–4 Z chromosomes. Using a transcriptome-based microarray for comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) and a library of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones, both developed in L. juvernica, we identified Z-linked Leptidea orthologs of Bombyx mori genes and mapped them by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) with BAC probes on multiple Z chromosomes. In all three species, we determined synteny blocks of autosomal origin and reconstructed the evolution of multiple sex-chromosomes. In addition, we identified W homologues of Z-linked orthologs and characterised their molecular differentiation. Our results suggest that the multiple sex-chromosome system evolved in a common ancestor as a result of dynamic genome reshuffling through repeated rearrangements between the sex chromosomes and autosomes, including translocations, fusions and fissions. Thus, the initial formation of neo-sex chromosomes could not have played a role in reproductive isolation between these Leptidea species. However, the subsequent species-specific fissions of several neo-sex chromosomes could have contributed to their reproductive isolation. Then, significantly increased numbers of Z-linked genes and independent neo-W chromosome degeneration could accelerate the accumulation of genetic incompatibilities between populations and promote their divergence resulting in speciation.
DOI: 10.1038/s41437-020-0325-9
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IEB authors: Jan Šafář