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Heredity (Edinb). 2009 Jun;102(6):590-9. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2009.26. Epub 2009 Mar 18.

Introgression as a likely cause of mtDNA paraphyly in two allopatric skippers (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae).

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.

Abstract

Gene transfer between species during interspecific hybridization is a widely accepted reality in plants but is considered a relatively rare phenomenon among animals. Here we describe a unique case of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) paraphyly in the skipper genus, Erynnis, that involves well-diverged allopatric species. Using molecular evidence from both mitochondrial and nuclear genomes, we found high levels of intraspecific divergence in the mitochondrial genome within E. propertius (over 4% pair-wise sequence divergence) but no such differentiation in the nuclear genome. Sequence comparisons with related Erynnis suggest that past, but recent and infrequent introgression between E. propertius and E. horatius is the most reasonable explanation for the observed pattern of mtDNA paraphyly. This example of putative introgression highlights the complexity of mtDNA evolution and suggests that similar processes could be operating in other taxa that have not been extensively sampled. Our observations reinforce the importance of involving multiple genes with different modes of inheritance in the analysis of population history of congeneric taxa.

PMID:
19293835
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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