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Deep structure, long-distance migration and admixture in the colour polymorphic land snail Cepaea nemoralis

Ramos-Gonzalez, Daniel; Saenko, Suzanne V.; Davison, Angus

Deep structure, long-distance migration and admixture in the colour polymorphic land snail Cepaea nemoralis Thumbnail


Daniel Ramos-Gonzalez

Suzanne V. Saenko

Professor of Evolutionary Genetics


Although snails of the genus Cepaea have historically been important in studying colour polymorphism, an ongoing issue is that there is a lack of knowledge of the underlying genetics of the polymorphism, as well as an absence of genomic data to put findings in context. We, therefore, used phylogenomic methods to begin to investigate the post-glacial history of Cepaea nemoralis, with a long-term aim to understand the roles that selection and drift have in determining both European-wide and local patterns of colour polymorphism. By combining prior and new mitochondrial DNA data from over 1500 individuals with ddRAD genomic data from representative individuals across Europe, we show that patterns of differentiation are primarily due to multiple deeply diverged populations of snails. Minimally, there is a widespread Central European population and additional diverged groups in Northern Spain, the Pyrenees, as well as likely Italy and South Eastern Europe. The genomic analysis showed that the present-day snails in Ireland and possibly some other locations are likely descendants of admixture between snails from the Pyrenees and the Central European group, an observation that is consistent with prior inferences from mitochondrial DNA alone. The interpretation is that C.nemoralis may have arrived in Ireland via long-distance migration from the Pyrenean region, subsequently admixing with arrivals from elsewhere. This work, therefore, provides a baseline expectation for future studies on the genetics of the colour polymorphism, as well as providing a comparator for similar species.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 13, 2022
Publication Date 2022-08
Deposit Date Jul 18, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 18, 2022
Journal Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Print ISSN 1010-061X
Electronic ISSN 1420-9101
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 8
Pages 1110-1125
Keywords Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Public URL
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