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Evolution. 2002 Apr;56(4):741-53.

Inferences from a rapidly moving hybrid zone.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University College London, United Kingdom. kkd22@cam.ac.uk


Anartia fatima and Anartia amathea (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) are sister taxa whose ranges abut in a narrow hybrid zone in eastern Panama. At the center of the zone, hybrids are abundant, although deviations from Hardy-Weinberg and linkage disequilibria are strong, due in part to assortative mating. We measured differences across the zone in four wing color-pattern characters, three allozyme loci, and mitochondrial haplotype. Wing pattern, allozyme, and mitochondrial clines were coincident (i.e., had the same positions) and concordant (i.e.. all markers had similar cline shapes, about 28 km wide). Repeated samples demonstrated that the hybrid zone has been moving eastwards at an average rate of 2.5 km/year over the past 20 years, accompanied by an equivalent movement of the mtDNA cline. No introgression of mtDNA haplotypes were found in the ''wake" of the moving cline, as might be expected for a neutral marker. The concordance of morphological and mtDNA clines between 1994 and 2000, in spite of hybrid zone movement, suggests strong epistasis between the mitochondrial genome and nuclear loci. Cline movement is achieved mainly by pure fatima immigrating into amathea populations; hybrids had little effect, and were presumably outcompeted by fitter pure fatima genotypes. This movement can be explained if random dispersal of 7-19 km x gen(1/2) is coupled with a competitive advantage to A. fatima genomes of 2-5%. Hybrid zone motion is equivalent to Phase III of Wright's shifting balance. Hybrid zone movement has rarely been considered likely in the past, but our results show that it may be more important in biogeography and evolution than generally realized.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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