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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2012 Feb 5;367(1587):461-74. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0256.

Establishment of new mutations under divergence and genome hitchhiking.

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


Theoretical models addressing genome-wide patterns of divergence during speciation are needed to help us understand the evolutionary processes generating empirical patterns. Here, we examine a critical issue concerning speciation-with-gene flow: to what degree does physical linkage (r < 0.5) of new mutations to already diverged genes aid the build-up of genomic islands of differentiation? We used simulation and analytical approaches to partition the probability of establishment for a new divergently selected mutation when the mutation (i) is the first to arise in an undifferentiated genome (the direct effect of selection), (ii) arises unlinked to any selected loci (r = 0.5), but within a genome that has some already diverged genes (the effect of genome-wide reductions in gene flow for facilitating divergence, which we term 'genome hitchhiking'), and (iii) arises in physical linkage to a diverged locus (divergence hitchhiking). We find that the strength of selection acting directly on a new mutation is generally the most important predictor for establishment, with divergence and genomic hitchhiking having smaller effects. We outline the specific conditions under which divergence and genome hitchhiking can aid mutation establishment. The results generate predictions about genome divergence at different points in the speciation process and avenues for further work.

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