[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Theoretical and empirical data suggest that genes located on sex chromosomes may play an important role both for sexually selected traits and for traits involved in the build-up of hybrid incompatibilities. We investigated patterns of genetic variation in 73 genes located on the Z chromosomes of two species of the flycatcher genus Ficedula, the pied flycatcher and the collared flycatcher. Sequence data were evaluated for signs of selection potentially related to genomic differentiation in these young sister species, which hybridize despite reduced fitness of hybrids. Seven loci were significantly more divergent between the two species than expected under neutrality and they also displayed reduced nucleotide diversity, consistent with having been influenced by directional selection. Two of the detected candidate regions contain genes that are associated with plumage coloration in birds. Plumage characteristics play an important role in species recognition in these flycatchers suggesting that the detected genes may have been involved in the evolution of sexual isolation between the species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The view of species as entities subjected to natural selection and amenable to change put forth by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace laid the conceptual foundation for understanding speciation. Initially marred by a rudimental understanding of hereditary principles, evolutionists gained appreciation of the mechanistic underpinnings of speciation following the merger of Mendelian genetic principles with Darwinian evolution. Only recently have we entered an era where deciphering the molecular basis of speciation is within reach. Much focus has been devoted to the genetic basis of intrinsic postzygotic isolation in model organisms and several hybrid incompatibility genes have been successfully identified. However, concomitant with the recent technological advancements in genome analysis and a newfound interest in the role of ecology in the differentiation process, speciation genetic research is becoming increasingly open to non-model organisms. This development will expand speciation research beyond the traditional boundaries and unveil the genetic basis of speciation from manifold perspectives and at various stages of the splitting process. This review aims at providing an extensive overview of speciation genetics. Starting from key historical developments and core concepts of speciation genetics, we focus much of our attention on evolving approaches and introduce promising methodological approaches for future research venues.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 06/2010; 365(1547):1717-33. · 6.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequence variation in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was traditionally considered to be selectively neutral. However, an accumulating body of evidence indicates that this assumption is invalid. Furthermore, recent advances indicate that mtDNA polymorphism can be maintained within populations via selection on the joint mitochondrial-nuclear genotype. Here, we review the latest findings that show mitochondrial and cytoplasmic genetic variation for life-history traits and fitness. We highlight the key importance of the mitochondrial-nuclear interaction as a unit of selection and discuss the consequences of mitochondrially encoded fitness effects on several key evolutionary processes. Our goal is to draw attention to the profound, yet neglected, influence of the mitochondrial genome on the fields of ecology and evolution.