Genomic islands of differentiation in two songbird species reveal candidate genes for hybrid female sterility.
ABSTRACT: Hybrid sterility is a common first step in the evolution of postzygotic reproductive isolation. According to Haldane's Rule, it affects predominantly the heterogametic sex. While the genetic basis of hybrid male sterility in organisms with heterogametic males has been studied for decades, the genetic basis of hybrid female sterility in organisms with heterogametic females has received much less attention. We investigated the genetic basis of reproductive isolation in two closely related avian species, the common nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) and the thrush nightingale (L. luscinia), that hybridize in a secondary contact zone and produce viable hybrid progeny. In accordance with Haldane's Rule, hybrid females are sterile, while hybrid males are fertile, allowing gene flow to occur between the species. Using transcriptomic data from multiple individuals of both nightingale species, we identified genomic islands of high differentiation (FST ) and of high divergence (Dxy ), and we analysed gene content and patterns of molecular evolution within these islands. Interestingly, we found that these islands were enriched for genes related to female meiosis and metabolism. The islands of high differentiation and divergence were also characterized by higher levels of linkage disequilibrium than the rest of the genome in both species indicating that they might be situated in genomic regions of low recombination. This study provides one of the first insights into genetic basis of hybrid female sterility in organisms with heterogametic females.
Project description:Several lines of evidence suggest that the X chromosome plays a large role in intrinsic postzygotic isolation. The role of the Z chromosome in speciation is much less understood. To explore the role of the Z chromosome in reproductive isolation, we studied nucleotide variation in two closely related bird species, the Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) and the Common Nightingale (L. megarhynchos). These species are isolated by incomplete prezygotic isolation and female hybrid sterility. We sequenced introns of four Z-linked and eight autosomal loci and analyzed patterns of polymorphism and divergence using a divergence-with-gene flow framework. Our results suggest that the nightingale species diverged approximately 1.8 Mya. We found strong evidence of gene flow after divergence in both directions, although more introgression occurred from L. megarhynchos into L. luscinia. Gene flow was significantly higher on the autosomes than on the Z chromosome. Our results support the idea that the Z chromosome plays an important role in intrinsic postzygotic isolation in birds, although it may also contribute to the evolution of prezygotic isolation through sexual selection. This highlights the similarities in the genetic basis of reproductive isolation between organisms with heterogametic males and organisms with heterogametic females during the early stages of speciation.
Project description:The occurrence of hybrid incompatibilities forms an important stage during the evolution of reproductive isolation. In early stages of speciation, males and females often respond differently to hybridization. Haldane's rule states that the heterogametic sex suffers more from hybridization than the homogametic sex. Although haplodiploid reproduction (haploid males, diploid females) does not involve sex chromosomes, sex-specific incompatibilities are predicted to be prevalent in haplodiploid species. Here, we evaluate the effect of sex/ploidy level on hybrid incompatibilities and locate genomic regions that cause increased mortality rates in hybrid males of the haplodiploid wasps Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia longicornis. Our data show that diploid F(1) hybrid females suffer less from hybridization than haploid F(2) hybrid males. The latter not only suffer from an increased mortality rate, but also from behavioural and spermatogenic sterility. Genetic mapping in recombinant F(2) male hybrids revealed that the observed hybrid mortality is most likely due to a disruption of cytonuclear interactions. As these sex-specific hybrid incompatibilities follow predictions based on Haldane's rule, our data accentuate the need to broaden the view of Haldane's rule to include species with haplodiploid sex determination, consistent with Haldane's original definition.
Project description:Postzygotic reproductive isolation is characterized by two striking empirical patterns. The first is Haldane's rule--the preferential inviability or sterility of species hybrids of the heterogametic (XY) sex. The second is the so-called large X effect--substitution of one species's X chromosome for another's has a disproportionately large effect on hybrid fitness compared to similar substitution of an autosome. Although the first rule has been well-established, the second rule remains controversial. Here, we dissect the genetic causes of these two rules using a genome-wide introgression analysis of Drosophila mauritiana chromosome segments in an otherwise D. sechellia genetic background. We find that recessive hybrid incompatibilities outnumber dominant ones and that hybrid male steriles outnumber all other types of incompatibility, consistent with the dominance and faster-male theories of Haldane's rule, respectively. We also find that, although X-linked and autosomal introgressions are of similar size, most X-linked introgressions cause hybrid male sterility (60%) whereas few autosomal introgressions do (18%). Our results thus confirm the large X effect and identify its proximate cause: incompatibilities causing hybrid male sterility have a higher density on the X chromosome than on the autosomes. We evaluate several hypotheses for the evolutionary cause of this excess of X-linked hybrid male sterility.
Project description:The prevalence of Haldane's rule suggests that sex chromosomes commonly have a key role in reproductive barriers and speciation. However, the majority of research on Haldane's rule has been conducted in species with conventional sex determination systems (XY and ZW) and exceptions to the rule have been understudied. Here we test the role of X-linked incompatibilities in a rare exception to Haldane's rule for female sterility in field cricket sister species (Teleogryllus oceanicus and T. commodus). Both have an XO sex determination system. Using three generations of crosses, we introgressed X chromosomes from each species onto different, mixed genomic backgrounds to test predictions about the fertility and viability of each cross type. We predicted that females with two different species X chromosomes would suffer reduced fertility and viability compared with females with two parental X chromosomes. However, we found no strong support for such X-linked incompatibilities. Our results preclude X-X incompatibilities and instead support an interchromosomal epistatic basis to hybrid female sterility. We discuss the broader implications of these findings, principally whether deviations from Haldane's rule might be more prevalent in species without dimorphic sex chromosomes.
Project description:Speciation, the evolution of reproductive isolation between populations, serves as the driving force for generating biodiversity. Postzygotic barriers to gene flow, such as F(1) hybrid sterility and inviability, play important roles in the establishment and maintenance of biological species. F(1) hybrid incompatibilities in taxa that obey Haldane's rule, the observation that the heterogametic sex suffers greater hybrid fitness problems than the homogametic sex, are thought to often result from interactions between recessive-acting X-linked loci and dominant-acting autosomal loci. Because they play such prominent roles in producing hybrid incompatibilities, we examine the dominance and nature of epistasis between alleles derived from Drosophila persimilis that confer hybrid male sterility in the genetic background of its sister species, D. pseudoobscura bogotana. We show that epistasis elevates the apparent dominance of individually recessive-acting QTL such that they can contribute to F(1) hybrid sterility. These results have important implications for assumptions underlying theoretical models of hybrid incompatibilities and may offer a possible explanation for why, to date, identification of dominant-acting autosomal "speciation genes" has been challenging.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Complexes of cryptic species are common in several taxa and this is also the case in the Anopheles genus, a group including all known human malaria vectors. The Anopheles albitarsis complex comprises at least nine cryptic species, some of which are implicated as vectors of human malaria. Several different types of data have been generated for this species complex such as cytogenetics, alloenzymes, morphological and feeding behavioral, hybridization experiments, RAPD-PCR and RFLP and mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Studies focused on its postzygotic isolation are still somewhat rare in the literature despite their importance to understand the speciation process and the level of gene flow potentially occurring among the different sibling species. METHODS:Hybridization experiments between Anopheles albitarsis s.s. and Anopheles marajoara, as well as backcrosses between hybrids and Anopheles albitarsis s.s., were performed using the induced mating technique. Results were compared to intraspecific crosses. Larva-to-adult viability and sex ratio were also assessed. RESULTS:Male hybrids show very low insemination rates and nearly complete sterility, apparently due to abnormalities in their reproductive organs. Evidence of partial sterility among the hybrid females was also observed. CONCLUSIONS:Our data indicated that Anopheles albitarsis s.s. and Anopheles marajoara show a high level of postzygotic isolation with a strong hybrid male sterility. This result is consistent with the Haldane's rule which states that in interspecific crosses the heterogametic sex is the first to be affected. However, the fact that the females are not completely sterile raises the possibility of introgression between these two siblings species.
Project description:The X and Z sex chromosomes play a disproportionately large role in intrinsic postzygotic isolation. The underlying mechanisms of this large X/Z effect are, however, still poorly understood. Here we tested whether faster rates of molecular evolution caused by more intense positive selection or genetic drift on the Z chromosome could contribute to the large Z effect in two closely related passerine birds, the Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) and the Thrush Nightingale (L. luscinia). We found that the two species differ in patterns of molecular evolution on the Z chromosome. The Z chromosome of L. megarhynchos showed lower levels of within-species polymorphism and an excess of non-synonymous polymorphisms relative to non-synonymous substitutions. This is consistent with increased levels of genetic drift on this chromosome and may be attributed to more intense postcopulatory sexual selection acting on L. megarhynchos males as was indicated by significantly longer sperm and higher between-male variation in sperm length in L. megarhynchos compared to L. luscinia. Interestingly, analysis of interspecific gene flow on the Z chromosome revealed relatively lower levels of introgression from L. megarhynchos to L. luscinia than vice versa, indicating that the Z chromosome of L. megarhynchos accumulated more hybrid incompatibilities. Our results are consistent with the view that postcopulatory sexual selection may reduce the effective population size of the Z chromosome and thus lead to stronger genetic drift on this chromosome in birds. This can result in relatively faster accumulation of hybrid incompatibilities on the Z and thus contribute to the large Z effect.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Haldane's Rule, the tendency for the heterogametic sex to show reduced fertility in hybrid crosses, can obscure the signal of gene flow in mtDNA between species where females are heterogametic. Therefore, it is important when studying speciation and species limits in female-heterogametic species like birds to assess the signature of gene flow in the nuclear genome as well. We studied introgression of microsatellites and mtDNA across a secondary contact zone between coastal and interior lineages of Western Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma californica) to test for a signature of Haldane's Rule: a narrower cline of introgression in mtDNA compared to nuclear markers. RESULTS:Our initial phylogeographic analysis revealed that there is only one major area of contact between coastal and interior lineages and identified five genetic clusters with strong spatial structuring: Pacific Slope, Interior US, Edwards Plateau (Texas), Northern Mexico, and Southern Mexico. Consistent with predictions from Haldane's Rule, mtDNA showed a narrower cline than nuclear markers across a transect through the hybrid zone. This result is not being driven by female-biased dispersal because neutral diffusion analysis, which included estimates of sex-specific dispersal rates, also showed less diffusion of mtDNA. Lineage-specific plumage traits were associated with nuclear genetic profiles for individuals in the hybrid zone, indicating that these differences are under genetic control. CONCLUSIONS:This study adds to a growing list of studies that support predictions of Haldane's Rule using cline analysis of multiple loci of differing inheritance modes, although alternate hypotheses like selection on different mtDNA types cannot be ruled out. That Haldane's Rule appears to be operating in this system suggests a measure of reproductive isolation between the Pacific Slope and interior lineages. Based on a variety of evidence from the phenotype, ecology, and genetics, we recommend elevating three lineages to species level: A. californica (Pacific Slope); A. woodhouseii (Interior US plus Edwards Plateau plus Northern Mexico); A. sumichrasti (Southern Mexico). The distinctive Edwards Plateau population in Texas, which was monophyletic in mtDNA except for one individual, should be studied in greater detail given habitat threat.
Project description:During the process of speciation, diverging taxa often hybridize and produce offspring wherein the heterogametic sex (i.e., XY or ZW) is unfit (Haldane's rule). Dominance theory seeks to explain Haldane's rule in terms of the difference in X-linked dominance regimes experienced by the sexes. However, X inactivation in female mammals extends the effects of hemizygosity to both sexes. Here, we highlight where the assumptions of dominance theory are particularly problematic in marsupials, where X inactivation uniformly results in silencing the paternal X. We then present evidence of Haldane's rule for sterility but not for viability in marsupials, as well as the first violations of Haldane's rule for these traits among all mammals. Marsupials represent a large taxonomic group possessing heteromorphic sex chromosomes, where the dominance theory cannot explain Haldane's rule. In this light, we evaluate alternative explanations for the preponderance of male sterility in interspecific hybrids, including faster male evolution, X-Y interactions, and genomic conflict hypotheses.
Project description:Interspecific hybridization allows the introgression or movement of alleles from one genome to another. While some genomic regions freely exchange alleles during hybridization, loci associated with reproductive isolation do not intermix. In many model organisms, the X chromosome displays limited introgression compared to autosomes owing to the presence of multiple loci associated with hybrid sterility or inviability (the "large X-effect"). Similarly, if hybrids are produced, the heterogametic sex is usually inviable or sterile, a pattern known as Haldane's rule. We analyzed the patterns of introgression of genetic markers located in the mitochondrial (control region) and nuclear (autosomal microsatellites and sex chromosome genes) genomes of two howler monkey species (Alouatta palliata and A. pigra) that form a natural hybrid zone in southern Mexico, to evaluate whether the large X-effect and Haldane's rule affect the outcomes of hybridization between these sister species. To identify the level of admixture of each individual in the hybrid zone (N = 254) we analyzed individuals sampled outside the hybrid zone (109 A. pigra and 39 A. palliata) to determine allele frequencies of parental species and estimated a hybrid index based on nuclear markers. We then performed a cline analysis using individuals in the hybrid zone to determine patterns of introgression for each locus. Our analyses show that although the hybrid zone is bimodal (with no known F1 s and few recent generation hybrids) and quite narrow, there has been extensive introgression in both directions, and there is a large array of admixed individuals in the hybrid zone. Mitochondrial and most autosomal markers showed bidirectional introgression, but some had biased introgression toward one species or the other. All markers on the sex chromosomes and a few autosomal markers showed highly restricted introgression. This pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that the sex chromosomes make a disproportionate contribution to reproductive isolation, and our results broaden the taxonomic representation of these patterns across animal taxa.