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Journal Articles Molecular Ecology Resources Year : 2023

Inferring landscape resistance to gene flow when genetic drift is spatially heterogeneous


In connectivity models, land cover types are assigned cost values characterizing their resistance to species movements. Landscape genetic methods infer these values from the relationship between genetic differentiation and cost distances. The spatial heterogeneity of population sizes, and consequently genetic drift, is rarely included in this inference although it influences genetic differentiation. Similarly, migration rates and population spatial distributions potentially influence this inference. Here, we assessed the reliability of cost value inference under several migration rates, population spatial patterns and degrees of population size heterogeneity. Additionally, we assessed whether considering intra-population variables, here using gravity models, improved the inference when drift is spatially heterogeneous. We simulated several gene flow intensities between populations with varying local sizes and spatial distributions. We then fit gravity models of genetic distances as a function of (i) the ‘true’ cost distances driving simulations or alternative cost distances, and (ii) intra-population variables (population sizes, patch areas). We determined the conditions making the identification of the ‘true’ costs possible and assessed the contribution of intra-population variables to this objective. Overall, the inference ranked cost scenarios reliably in terms of similarity with the ‘true’ scenario (cost distance Mantel correlations), but this ‘true’ scenario rarely provided the best model goodness of fit. Ranking inaccuracies and failures to identify the ‘true’ scenario were more pronounced when migration was very restricted (<4 dispersal events/generation), population sizes were most heterogeneous and some populations were spatially aggregated. In these situations, considering intra-population variables helps identify cost scenarios reliably, thereby improving cost value inference from genetic data.
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hal-04141978 , version 1 (26-06-2023)



Paul Savary, Jean-Christophe Foltête, Hervé Moal, Gilles Vuidel, Stéphane Garnier. Inferring landscape resistance to gene flow when genetic drift is spatially heterogeneous. Molecular Ecology Resources, 2023, 23 (7), pp.1574-1588. ⟨10.1111/1755-0998.13821⟩. ⟨hal-04141978⟩
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