Parallel adaptation of rabbit populations to myxoma virus.

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Cheng, Jade Y 
Lemos de Matos, Ana  ORCID logo
Rahman, Masmudur M 

In the 1950s the myxoma virus was released into European rabbit populations in Australia and Europe, decimating populations and resulting in the rapid evolution of resistance. We investigated the genetic basis of resistance by comparing the exomes of rabbits collected before and after the pandemic. We found a strong pattern of parallel evolution, with selection on standing genetic variation favoring the same alleles in Australia, France, and the United Kingdom. Many of these changes occurred in immunity-related genes, supporting a polygenic basis of resistance. We experimentally validated the role of several genes in viral replication and showed that selection acting on an interferon protein has increased the protein's antiviral effect.

Adaptation, Biological, Alleles, Animals, Australia, Evolution, Molecular, France, Gene Frequency, Genetic Variation, Immunity, Innate, Interferon alpha-2, Myxoma virus, Myxomatosis, Infectious, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Population, Rabbits, United Kingdom
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American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
European Research Council (281668)
Wellcome Trust (098406/Z/12/B)
European Research Council (647787)
Wellcome Trust (098406/Z/12/Z)
This work was supported by grants from the Programa Operacional Potencial Humano–Quadro de Referência Estratégica Nacional funds from the European Social Fund and Portuguese Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior to M.C. (IF/00283/2014/CP1256/CT0012), to P.J.E. (IF/00376/2015) and to J.M.A. (SFRH/BD/72381/2010). AM was supported by the European Research Council (grant 647787-LocalAdaptation). FJ was supported by the European Research Council (grant 281668). LL was supported by the European Research Council grant (339941-ADAPT). McFadden Lab is supported by National Institute of Health (NIH) grant R01 AI080607. S.C.G. holds a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, co-funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (098406/Z/12/Z).
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