Invasive bullfrogs maintain MHC polymorphism including alleles associated with chytrid fungal infection

Authors: Jacob LaFond; Katherine R Martin; Hollis Dahn; Jonathan Q Richmond; Robert W Murphy; Njal Rollinson; Anna E Savage
Contribution Number: 845


Maintenance of genetic diversity at adaptive loci may facilitate invasions by non-native species by allowing populations to adapt to novel environments, despite the loss of diversity at neutral loci that typically occurs during founder events. To evaluate this prediction, we compared genetic diversity at major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and cytochrome b (cytb) loci from 20 populations of the American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) across the invasive and native ranges in North America and quantified the presence of the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Compared to native populations, invasive populations had significantly higher Bd prevalence and intensity, significantly higher pairwise MHC and cytb FST, and significantly lower cytb diversity, but maintained similar levels of MHC diversity. The two most common MHC alleles (LiCA_B and Rapi_33) were associated with a significant decreased risk of Bd infection, and we detected positive selection acting on four peptide binding residues. Phylogenetic analysis suggested invasive populations likely arose from a single founding population in the American Midwest with a possible subsequent invasion in the northwest. Overall, our study suggests that the maintenance of diversity at adaptive loci may contribute to invasion success and highlights the importance of quantifying diversity at functional loci to assess the evolutionary potential of invasive populations.

Publication details
Published Date: 2022-05-19
Outlet/Publisher: Integrative and Comparative Biology 62:262–274
Media Format: .PDF

ARMI Organizational Units:
Southwest, Southern California - Biology
Invasive Species
Place Names:
United States
Bd; Chytridiomycosis
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