Parallel adaptation of rabbit populations to myxoma virus

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Joel M. Alves
  • Miguel Carneiro
  • Jade Y. Cheng
  • Ana Lemos de Matos
  • Masmudur M. Rahman
  • Liisa Loog
  • Paula F. Campos
  • Nathan Wales
  • Anders Eriksson
  • Andrea Manica
  • Tanja Strive
  • Stephen C. Graham
  • Sandra Afonso
  • Diana J. Bell
  • Laura Belmont
  • Jonathan P. Day
  • Susan J. Fuller
  • Stéphane Marchandeau
  • William J. Palmer
  • Guillaume Queney
  • Alison K. Surridge
  • Grant McFadden
  • Rasmus Nielsen
  • Pedro J. Esteves
  • Nuno Ferrand
  • Francis M. Jiggins

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 its antiviral effect.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6433
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 214274810