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Evolution. 2010 Feb 1;64(2):472-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00846.x. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

The variable genomic architecture of isolation between hybridizing species of house mice.

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Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Studies of the genetics of hybrid zones can provide insight into the genomic architecture of species boundaries. By examining patterns of introgression of multiple loci across a hybrid zone, it may be possible to identify regions of the genome that have experienced selection. Here, we present a comparison of introgression in two replicate transects through the house mouse hybrid zone through central Europe, using data from 41 single nucleotide markers. Using both genomic and geographic clines, we found many differences in patterns of introgression between the two transects, as well as some similarities. We found that many loci may have experienced the effects of selection at linked sites, including selection against hybrid genotypes, as well as positive selection in the form of genotypes introgressed into a foreign genetic background. We also found many positive associations of conspecific alleles among unlinked markers, which could be caused by epistatic interactions. Different patterns of introgression in the two transects highlight the challenge of using hybrid zones to identify genes underlying isolation and raise the possibility that the genetic basis of isolation between these species may be dependent on the local population genetic make-up or the local ecological setting.

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