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Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Dec 12;280(1752):20122302. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2302. Print 2013 Feb 7.

Introgression of wing pattern alleles and speciation via homoploid hybridization in Heliconius butterflies: a review of evidence from the genome.

Author information

1
Evolution and Ecology Group, Department of Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA. abrower@mtsu.edu

Abstract

The diverse Müllerian mimetic wing patterns of neotropical Heliconius (Nymphalidae) have been proposed to be not only aposematic signals to potential predators, but also intra- and interspecific recognition signals that allow the butterflies to maintain their specific identities, and which perhaps drive the process of speciation, as well. Adaptive features under differential selection that also serve as cues for assortative mating have been referred to as 'magic traits', which can drive ecological speciation. Such traits are expected to exhibit allelic differentiation between closely related species with ongoing gene flow, whereas unlinked neutral traits are expected to be homogenized to a greater degree by introgression. However, recent evidence suggests that interspecific hybridization among Heliconius butterflies may have resulted in adaptive introgression of these very same traits across species boundaries, and in the evolution of new species by homoploid hybrid speciation. The theory and data supporting various aspects of the apparent paradox of 'magic trait' introgression are reviewed, with emphasis on population genomic comparisons of Heliconius melpomene and its close relatives.

PMID:
23235702
PMCID:
PMC3574301
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2012.2302
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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