Evolutionary Biology

Relaxation of purifying selection suggests low effective population size in eusocial Hymenoptera and solitary pollinating bees

10.24072/pcjournal.3 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article no. e2.

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With one of the highest number of parasite, eusocial and pollinator species among all insect orders, Hymenoptera features a great diversity of specific lifestyles. At the population genetic level, such life-history strategies are expected to decrease effective population size and efficiency of purifying selection. In this study, we tested this hypothesis by estimating the relative rate of non-synonymous substitution in 169 species to investigate the variation in natural selection efficiency throughout the hymenopteran tree of life. We found no effect of parasitism or body size, but show that relaxed selection is associated with eusociality, suggesting that the division of reproductive labour decreases effective population size in ants, bees and wasps. Unexpectedly, the effect of eusociality is marginal compared to a striking and widespread relaxation of selection in both social and non social bees, which indicates that these keystone pollinator species generally feature low effective population sizes. This widespread pattern suggests specific constraints in pollinating bees potentially linked to limited resource and high parental investment. The particularly high load of deleterious mutations we report in the genome of these crucial ecosystem engineer species also raises new concerns about their ongoing population decline.
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DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.3
Weyna, Arthur 1; Romiguier, Jonathan 1

1 Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution (UMR 5554), University of Montpellier, CNRS – Montpellier, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
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Weyna, Arthur; Romiguier, Jonathan. Relaxation of purifying selection suggests low effective population size in eusocial Hymenoptera and solitary pollinating bees. Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article  no. e2. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.3. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.3/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100120

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The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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