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      Interpreting the genomic landscape of speciation: a road map for finding barriers to gene flow.

      Journal of Evolutionary Biology

      Wiley

      speciation genomics, genome scans, genomic divergence, gene flow, selection, reproductive isolation, population genomics

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          Abstract

          Speciation, the evolution of reproductive isolation among populations, is continuous, complex, and involves multiple, interacting barriers. Until it is complete, the effects of this process vary along the genome and can lead to a heterogeneous genomic landscape with peaks and troughs of differentiation and divergence. When gene flow occurs during speciation, barriers restricting gene flow locally in the genome lead to patterns of heterogeneity. However, genomic heterogeneity can also be produced or modified by variation in factors such as background selection and selective sweeps, recombination and mutation rate variation, and heterogeneous gene density. Extracting the effects of gene flow, divergent selection and reproductive isolation from such modifying factors presents a major challenge to speciation genomics. We argue one of the principal aims of the field is to identify the barrier loci involved in limiting gene flow. We first summarize the expected signatures of selection at barrier loci, at the genomic regions linked to them and across the entire genome. We then discuss the modifying factors that complicate the interpretation of the observed genomic landscape. Finally, we end with a road map for future speciation research: a proposal for how to account for these modifying factors and to progress towards understanding the nature of barrier loci. Despite the difficulties of interpreting empirical data, we argue that the availability of promising technical and analytical methods will shed further light on the important roles that gene flow and divergent selection have in shaping the genomic landscape of speciation.

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          Most cited references 186

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          The genomic basis of adaptive evolution in threespine sticklebacks

          Summary Marine stickleback fish have colonized and adapted to innumerable streams and lakes formed since the last ice age, providing an exceptional opportunity to characterize genomic mechanisms underlying repeated ecological adaptation in nature. Here we develop a high quality reference genome assembly for threespine sticklebacks. By sequencing the genomes of 20 additional individuals from a global set of marine and freshwater populations, we identify a genome-wide set of loci that are consistently associated with marine-freshwater divergence. Our results suggest that reuse of globally-shared standing genetic variation, including chromosomal inversions, plays an important role in repeated evolution of distinct marine and freshwater sticklebacks, and in the maintenance of divergent ecotypes during early stages of reproductive isolation. Both coding and regulatory changes occur in the set of loci underlying marine-freshwater evolution, with regulatory changes likely predominating in this classic example of repeated adaptive evolution in nature.
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            Gene flow and the geographic structure of natural populations.

             M Slatkin (1987)
            There is abundant geographic variation in both morphology and gene frequency in most species. The extent of geographic variation results from a balance of forces tending to produce local genetic differentiation and forces tending to produce genetic homogeneity. Mutation, genetic drift due to finite population size, and natural selection favoring adaptations to local environmental conditions will all lead to the genetic differentiation of local populations, and the movement of gametes, individuals, and even entire populations--collectively called gene flow--will oppose that differentiation. Gene flow may either constrain evolution by preventing adaptation to local conditions or promote evolution by spreading new genes and combinations of genes throughout a species' range. Several methods are available for estimating the amount of gene flow. Direct methods monitor ongoing gene flow, and indirect methods use spatial distributions of gene frequencies to infer past gene flow. Applications of these methods show that species differ widely in the gene flow that they experience. Of particular interest are those species for which direct methods indicate little current gene flow but indirect methods indicate much higher levels of gene flow in the recent past. Such species probably have undergone large-scale demographic changes relatively frequently.
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              Hybridization and speciation.

              Hybridization has many and varied impacts on the process of speciation. Hybridization may slow or reverse differentiation by allowing gene flow and recombination. It may accelerate speciation via adaptive introgression or cause near-instantaneous speciation by allopolyploidization. It may have multiple effects at different stages and in different spatial contexts within a single speciation event. We offer a perspective on the context and evolutionary significance of hybridization during speciation, highlighting issues of current interest and debate. In secondary contact zones, it is uncertain if barriers to gene flow will be strengthened or broken down due to recombination and gene flow. Theory and empirical evidence suggest the latter is more likely, except within and around strongly selected genomic regions. Hybridization may contribute to speciation through the formation of new hybrid taxa, whereas introgression of a few loci may promote adaptive divergence and so facilitate speciation. Gene regulatory networks, epigenetic effects and the evolution of selfish genetic material in the genome suggest that the Dobzhansky-Muller model of hybrid incompatibilities requires a broader interpretation. Finally, although the incidence of reinforcement remains uncertain, this and other interactions in areas of sympatry may have knock-on effects on speciation both within and outside regions of hybridization. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                28786193
                10.1111/jeb.13047

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