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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2005;110(1-4):49-55.

Hybrid genome evolution by transposition.

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Departament de Genètica i Microbiologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


Species hybridization is reviewed focusing on its role as a source of evolutionary novelties. Contrary to the view that hybrids are lineages devoid of evolutionary value, a number of case studies are given that show how hybrids are responsible for reticulate evolution that may lead to the origin of new species. Hybrid evolution is mediated by extensive genome repatterning followed by rapid stabilization and fixation of highly adapted genotypes. Some well-documented cases demonstrate that bursts of transposition follow hybridization and may contribute to the genetic instability observed after hybridization. The mechanism that triggers transposition in hybrids is largely unknown, but coupling of hybrid transposition and demethylation has been observed in mammals and plants. A natural scenario is proposed in which marginal small hybrid populations undergo transposition mediated genome reorganizations accompanied by exogenous and endogenous selection that, in concert with drift, lead to rapid fixation of high fitness hybrid genotypes. These genotypes may represent parental introgressed species or be entirely new species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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