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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Mar 27;98(7):3929-34. Epub 2001 Mar 20.

Evidence that ultraviolet markings are associated with patterns of molecular gene flow.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, United Kingdom.


Recent studies have shown UV vision and markings to be important in vertebrates, particularly birds, where behavioral experiments have demonstrated its potential importance in sexual selection. However, there has been no genetic evidence that UV markings determine patterns of evolution among natural populations. Here we report molecular evidence that UV markings are associated with the pattern of gene flow in the Tenerife lizard (Gallotia galloti). This species has vicariance-induced, approximate east--west lineages in Tenerife closely congruent with the primary lineages of the sympatric gecko species. Against expectations, these molecular phylogeographic lineages (representing geological history) and isolation-by-distance do not appear to influence gene flow. Sexually mature males from populations either side of a latitudinal ecotone have different UV markings and gene flow appears to be linked to this difference in UV markings. It may be that these groups with different UV sexual markings mate assortatively, restricting the gene flow between them. This has implications for debate on the relative importance of vicariance and biotopes in influencing biodiversity, with this evidence supporting the latter.

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