Adaptation of threespine stickleback to freshwater involves parallel recruitment of freshwater alleles in clusters of closely linked sites, or divergence islands (DIs). However, it remains unclear to what extent the DIs and the alleles that constitute them coincide between populations that underwent adaptation to freshwater independently. We examine threespine sticklebacks from ten freshwater lakes that emerged 500-1500 years ago in the White Sea basin, with the emphasis on repeatability of genomic patterns of adaptation among the lake populations and the role of local recombination rate in the distribution and structure of DIs. The 65 detected DIs are clustered in the genome, forming 12 aggregations, and this clustering cannot be explained by the variation of the recombination rate. Only 21 of the DIs are present in all the freshwater populations, likely being indispensable for successful colonization of freshwater environment by the ancestral marine population. Within most DIs, the same set of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) distinguish marine and freshwater haplotypes in all the lake populations; however, in some DIs, freshwater alleles differ between populations, suggesting that they could have been established by recruitment of different haplotypes in different populations.
- divergence islands
- molecular evolution