Rapid genomic expansion and purging associated with habitat transitions in a clade of beach crustaceans (Haustoriidae: Amphipoda) Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • AbstractGenome sizes vary by orders of magnitude across the Tree of Life and lack any correlation with organismal complexity. Some crustacean orders, such as amphipods, have genome sizes that correlate with body size, temperature, and water depth, indicating that natural selection may constrain genome sizes due to physiological pressures. In this study, we examine the relationship between genome size, repetitive content, and environmental variables on a clade of sand-burrowing amphipods (Haustoriidae) that are distributed across the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic. We uncover a 6-fold genome size variation within a clade that is less than 7 million years old. Unlike previous studies, we find no correlation between genome size and latitude, but do uncover a significant relationship between genome size and body length. Further, we find that the proportion of repetitive content predicts genome size, and that the largest genomes appear to be driven by expansions of LINE elements. Finally, we find evidence of genomic purging and body size reduction in two lineages that have independently colonized warm brackish waters, possibly indicating a strong physiological constraint of transitioning from surf-swept beaches to protected bays.Significance StatementThe evolution of genome size has been a long-standing puzzle in biology. In this work, we find that genome sizes may be driven by different selection regimes following shifts to a new habitat. Dramatic genome size changes can occur rapidly, in only a few million years.Data Availability StatementRaw data sheets have been deposited on Dryad: SUBMITTED. Raw sequence reads are available at from NCBI under Bioproject SUBMITTED.

altmetric score

  • 9.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Hancock, Z. B., Hardin, F. O., Murthy, A., Hillhouse, A., & Johnston, J. S.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Hancock, Zachary B||Hardin, Faith O||Murthy, Archana||Hillhouse, Andrew||Johnston, J Spencer

Book Title

  • bioRxiv

publication date

  • August 2020