Hybridization patterns between two marine snails, Littorina fabalis and L. obtusata.
ABSTRACT: Characterizing the patterns of hybridization between closely related species is crucial to understand the role of gene flow in speciation. In particular, systems comprising multiple contacts between sister species offer an outstanding opportunity to investigate how reproductive isolation varies with environmental conditions, demography and geographic contexts of divergence. The flat periwinkles, Littorina obtusata and L. fabalis (Gastropoda), are two intertidal sister species with marked ecological differences compatible with late stages of speciation. Although hybridization between the two was previously suggested, its extent across the Atlantic shores of Europe remained largely unknown. Here, we combined genetic (microsatellites and mtDNA) and morphological data (shell and male genital morphology) from multiple populations of flat periwinkles in north-western Iberia to assess the extent of current and past hybridization between L. obtusata and L. fabalis under two contrasting geographic settings of divergence (sympatry and allopatry). Hybridization signatures based on both mtDNA and microsatellites were stronger in sympatric sites, although evidence for recent extensive admixture was found in a single location. Misidentification of individuals into species based on shell morphology was higher in sympatric than in allopatric sites. However, despite hybridization, species distinctiveness based on this phenotypic trait together with male genital morphology remained relatively high. The observed variation in the extent of hybridization among locations provides a rare opportunity for future studies on the consequences of different levels of gene flow for reinforcement, thus informing about the mechanisms underlying the completion of speciation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The flat periwinkles, Littorina fabalis and L. obtusata, are two sister species widely distributed throughout the Northern Atlantic shores with high potential to inform us about the process of ecological speciation in the intertidal. However, whether gene flow has occurred during their divergence is still a matter of debate. A comprehensive assessment of the genetic diversity of these species is also lacking and their main glacial refugia and dispersal barriers remain largely unknown. In order to fill these gaps, we sequenced two mitochondrial genes and two nuclear fragments to perform a phylogeographic analysis of flat periwinkles across their distribution range. RESULTS:We identified two main clades largely composed by species-specific haplotypes corresponding to L. obtusata and L. fabalis, with moderate to strong support, respectively. Importantly, a model of divergence with gene flow between the two species (from L. obtusata to L. fabalis) was better supported, both in Iberia and in northern-central Europe. Three mitochondrial clades were detected within L. fabalis and two within L. obtusata, with strong divergence between Iberia and the remaining populations. The largest component of the genetic variance within each species was explained by differences between geographic regions associated with these clades. Our data suggests that overall intraspecific genetic diversity is similar between the two flat periwinkle species and that populations from Iberia tend to be less diverse than populations from northern-central Europe. CONCLUSIONS:The phylogeographic analysis of this sister-species pair supports divergence with gene flow. This system thus provides us with the opportunity to study the contribution of gene flow and natural selection during diversification. The distribution of the different clades suggests the existence of glacial refugia in Iberia and northern-central Europe for both species, with a main phylogeographic break between these regions. Although the genetic diversity results are not fully conclusive, the lower diversity observed in Iberia could reflect marginal conditions at the southern limit of their distribution range during the current interglacial period.
Project description:Periwinkles of the family Littorinidae (Children, 1834) are common members of seashore littoral communities worldwide. Although the family is composed of more than 200 species belonging to 18 genera, chromosome numbers have been described in only eleven of them. A molecular cytogenetic analysis of nine periwinkle species, the rough periwinkles Littorina arcana, L. saxatilis, and L. compressa, the flat periwinkles L. obtusata and L. fabalis, the common periwinkle L. littorea, the mangrove periwinkle Littoraria angulifera, the beaded periwinkle Cenchritis muricatus, and the small periwinkle Melarhaphe neritoides was performed. All species showed diploid chromosome numbers of 2n = 34, and karyotypes were mostly composed of metacentric and submetacentric chromosome pairs. None of the periwinkle species showed chromosomal differences between male and female specimens. The chromosomal mapping of major and minor rDNA and H3 histone gene clusters by fluorescent in situ hybridization demonstrated that the patterns of distribution of these DNA sequences were conserved among closely related species and differed among less related ones. All signals occupied separated loci on different chromosome pairs without any evidence of co-localization in any of the species.
Project description:The flat periwinkles, Littorina fabalis and L. obtusata, comprise two sister gastropod species that have an enormous potential to elucidate the mechanisms involved in ecological speciation in the marine realm. However, the molecular resources currently available for these species are still scarce. In order to circumvent this limitation, we used RNA-seq data to characterize the transcriptome of four individuals from each species sampled in different locations across the Iberian Peninsula. Four de novo transcriptome assemblies were generated, as well as a pseudo-reference using the L. saxatilis reference transcriptome as backbone. After transcripts' annotation, variant calling resulted in the identification of 19,072 to 45,340 putatively species-diagnostic SNPs. The discriminatory power of a subset of these SNPs was validated by implementing an independent genotyping assay to characterize reference populations, resulting in an accurate classification of individuals into each species and in the identification of hybrids between the two. These data comprise valuable genomic resources for a wide range of evolutionary and conservation studies in flat periwinkles and related taxa.
Project description:Sexual selection can facilitate divergent evolution of traits related to mating and consequently promote speciation. Theoretically, independent operation of sexual selection in different populations can lead to divergence of sexual traits among populations and result in allopatric speciation. Here, we show that divergent evolution in sexual morphology affecting mating compatibility (body size and genital morphologies) and speciation have occurred in a lineage of millipedes, the Parafontaria tonominea species complex. In this millipede group, male and female body and genital sizes exhibit marked, correlated divergence among populations, and the diverged morphologies result in mechanical reproductive isolation between sympatric species. The morphological divergence occurred among populations independently and without any correlation with climatic variables, although matching between sexes has been maintained, suggesting that morphological divergence was not a by-product of climatic adaptation. The diverged populations underwent restricted dispersal and secondary contact without hybridization. The extent of morphological difference between sympatric species is variable, as is diversity among allopatric populations; consequently, the species complex appears to contain many species. This millipede case suggests that sexual selection does contribute to species richness via morphological diversification when a lineage of organisms consists of highly divided populations owing to limited dispersal.
Project description:The Amami Island group of the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan, harbors extensive species diversity of Asarum in a small landmass. The fine-scale population genetic structure and diversity of nine insular endemic Asarum species were examined using nuclear DNA microsatellite loci and ITS sequences. High population genetic diversity (HS = 0.45-0.79) was estimated based on the microsatellites, implying outcrossing of Asarum species within populations accompanied by inbreeding. Bayesian clustering analyses revealed that species were divided into three robust genetic clusters and that the species within each cluster had a homogeneous genetic structure, indicating incomplete lineage sorting. This conclusion was supported by an ITS phylogeny. The degree of genetic differentiation among species was very low both within and between clusters (FST = 0.096-0.193, and 0.096-0.266, respectively). Although species can be crossed artificially to produce fertile hybrids, our results indicate that there is very little evidence of hybridization or introgression occurring among species in the wild, even within stands composed of multiple sympatric species. The highly differentiated floral morphology of the studied species is likely to impose reproductive isolation between them and maintain their integrity in the wild. A lack of genetic differentiation between sympatric species suggests that speciation within this group occurred rapidly and recently.
Project description:Hybridization between distinct populations or species is increasingly recognized as an important process for generating biodiversity. However, the interaction between hybridization and speciation is complex, and the diverse evolutionary outcomes of hybridization are difficult to differentiate. Here we characterize potential hybridization in a species group of swallowtail butterflies using microsatellites, DNA sequences, and morphology, and assess whether adaptive introgression or homoploid hybrid speciation was the primary process leading to each putative hybrid lineage. Four geographically separated hybrid populations were identified in the Papilio machaon species group. One distinct mitochondrial DNA clade from P. machaon was fixed in three hybrid taxa (P. brevicauda, P. joanae, and P. m. kahli), while one hybrid swarm (P. zelicaon x machaon) exhibited this hybrid mtDNA clade as well as widespread parental mtDNA haplotypes from both parental species. Microsatellite markers and morphology showed variable admixture and intermediacy, ranging from signatures of prolonged differential introgression from the paternal species (P. polyxenes/P. zelicaon) to current gene flow with both parental species. Divergences of the hybrid lineages dated to early- to mid-Pleistocene, suggesting that repeated glaciations and subsequent range shifts of parental species, particularly P. machaon hudsonianus, facilitated initial hybridization. Although each lineage is distinct, P. joanae is the only taxon with sufficient evidence (ecological separation from parental species) to define it as a homoploid hybrid species. The repetition of hybridization in this group provides a valuable foundation for future research on hybridization, and these results emphasize the potential for hybridization to drive speciation in diverse ways.
Project description:Internally fertilizing animals show a remarkable diversity in male genital morphology that is associated with sexual selection, and these traits are thought to be evolving particularly rapidly. Male fish in some internally fertilizing species have "gonopodia," highly modified anal fins that are putatively important for sexual selection. However, our understanding of the evolution of genital diversity remains incomplete. Contrary to the prediction that male genital traits evolve more rapidly than other traits, here we show that gonopodial traits and other nongonopodial traits exhibit similar evolutionary rates of trait change and also follow similar evolutionary models in an iconic genus of poeciliid fish (Xiphophorus spp.). Furthermore, we find that both mating and nonmating natural selection mechanisms are unlikely to be driving the diverse Xiphophorus gonopodial morphology. Putative holdfast features of the male genital organ do not appear to be influenced by water flow, a candidate selective force in aquatic habitats. Additionally, interspecific divergence in gonopodial morphology is not significantly higher between sympatric species, than between allopatric species, suggesting that male genitals have not undergone reproductive character displacement. Slower rates of evolution in gonopodial traits compared with a subset of putatively sexually selected nongenital traits suggest that different selection mechanisms may be acting on the different trait types. Further investigations of this elaborate trait are imperative to determine whether it is ultimately an important driver of speciation.
Project description:Established empirical cases of sympatric speciation are scarce, although there is an increasing consensus that sympatric speciation might be more common than previously thought. Midas cichlid fish are one of the few substantiated cases of sympatric speciation, and they formed repeated radiations in crater lakes. In contrast, in the same environment, such radiation patterns have not been observed in other species of cichlids and other families of fish. We analyze morphological and genetic variation in a cichlid species (Archocentrus centrarchus) that co-inhabits several crater lakes with the Midas species complex. In particular, we analyze variation in body and pharyngeal jaw shape (two ecologically important traits in sympatrically divergent Midas cichlids) and relate that to genetic variation in mitochondrial control region and microsatellites. Using these four datasets, we analyze variation between and within two Nicaraguan lakes: a crater lake where multiple Midas cichlids have been described and a lake where the source population lives. We do not observe any within-lake clustering consistent across morphological traits and genetic markers, suggesting the absence of sympatric divergence in A. centrarchus. Genetic differentiation between lakes was low and morphological divergence absent. Such morphological similarity between lakes is found not only in average morphology, but also when analyzing covariation between traits and degree of morphospace occupation. A combined analysis of the mitochondrial control region in A. centrarchus and Midas cichlids suggests that a difference between lineages in the timing of crater lake colonization cannot be invoked as an explanation for the difference in their levels of diversification. In light of our results, A. centrarchus represents the ideal candidate to study the genomic differences between these two lineages that might explain why some lineages are more likely to speciate and diverge in sympatry than others.
Project description:Reinforcement contact zones, which are secondary contact zones where species are diverging in reproductive behaviors due to selection against hybridization, represent natural laboratories for studying speciation-in-action. Here, we examined replicate localities across the entire reinforcement contact zone between North American chorus frogs Pseudacris feriarum and P. nigrita to investigate geographic variation in hybridization frequencies and to assess whether reinforcement may have contributed to increased genetic divergence within species. Previous work indicated these species have undergone reproductive character displacement (RCD) in male acoustic signals and female preferences due to reinforcement. We also examined acoustic signal variation across the contact zone to assess whether signal characteristics reliably predict hybrid index and to elucidate whether the degree of RCD predicts hybridization rate. Using microsatellites, mitochondrial sequences, and acoustic signal information from >1,000 individuals across >50 localities and ten sympatric focal regions, we demonstrate: (1) hybridization occurs and (2) varies substantially across the geographic range of the contact zone, (3) hybridization is asymmetric and in the direction predicted from observed patterns of asymmetric RCD, (4) in one species, genetic distance is higher between conspecific localities where one or both have been reinforced than between nonreinforced localities, after controlling for geographic distance, (5) acoustic signal characters strongly predict hybrid index, and (6) the degree of RCD does not strongly predict admixture levels. By showing that hybridization occurs in all sympatric localities, this study provides the fifth and final line of evidence that reproductive character displacement is due to reinforcement in the chorus frog contact zone. Furthermore, this work suggests that the dual action of cascade reinforcement and partial geographic isolation is promoting genetic diversification within one of the reinforced species.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Sympatric speciation-the divergence of populations into new species in absence of geographic barriers to hybridization-is the most debated mode of diversification of life forms. Parasitic organisms are prominent models for sympatric speciation, because they may colonise new hosts within the same geographic area and diverge through host specialization. However, it has been argued that this mode of parasite divergence is not strict sympatric speciation, because host shifts likely cause the sudden effective isolation of parasites, particularly if these are transmitted by vectors and therefore cannot select their hosts. Strict sympatric speciation would involve parasite lineages diverging within a single host species, without any population subdivision. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we report a case of extraordinary divergence of sympatric, ecologically distinct, and reproductively isolated malaria parasites within a single avian host species, which apparently occurred without historical or extant subdivision of parasite or host populations. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This discovery of within-host speciation changes our current view on the diversification potential of malaria parasites, because neither geographic isolation of host populations nor colonization of new host species are any longer necessary conditions to the formation of new parasite species.