Standing geographic variation in eclosion time and the genomics of host race formation in Rhagoletis pomonella fruit flies

Meredith M. Doellman, Scott P. Egan, Gregory J. Ragland, Peter J. Meyers, Glen R. Hood, Thomas H.Q. Powell, Peter Lazorchak, Daniel A. Hahn, Stewart H. Berlocher, Patrik Nosil, Jeffrey L. Feder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Taxa harboring high levels of standing variation may be more likely to adapt to rapid environmental shifts and experience ecological speciation. Here, we characterize geographic and host-related differentiation for 10,241 single nucleotide polymorphisms in Rhagoletis pomonella fruit flies to infer whether standing genetic variation in adult eclosion time in the ancestral hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)-infesting host race, as opposed to new mutations, contributed substantially to its recent shift to earlier fruiting apple (Malus domestica). Allele frequency differences associated with early vs. late eclosion time within each host race were significantly related to geographic genetic variation and host race differentiation across four sites, arrayed from north to south along a 430-km transect, where the host races co-occur in sympatry in the Midwest United States. Host fruiting phenology is clinal, with both apple and hawthorn trees fruiting earlier in the North and later in the South. Thus, we expected alleles associated with earlier eclosion to be at higher frequencies in northern populations. This pattern was observed in the hawthorn race across all four populations; however, allele frequency patterns in the apple race were more complex. Despite the generally earlier eclosion timing of apple flies and corresponding apple fruiting phenology, alleles on chromosomes 2 and 3 associated with earlier emergence were paradoxically at lower frequency in the apple than hawthorn host race across all four sympatric sites. However, loci on chromosome 1 did show higher frequencies of early eclosion-associated alleles in the apple than hawthorn host race at the two southern sites, potentially accounting for their earlier eclosion phenotype. Thus, although extensive clinal genetic variation in the ancestral hawthorn race exists and contributed to the host shift to apple, further study is needed to resolve details of how this standing variation was selected to generate earlier eclosing apple fly populations in the North.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-409
Number of pages17
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • clinal variation
  • eclosion time
  • ecological speciation
  • host races
  • standing variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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