Experimental evidence of genome-wide impact of ecological selection during early stages of speciation-with-gene-flow

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Theory predicts that speciation-with-gene-flow is more likely when the consequences of selection for population divergence transitions from mainly direct effects of selection acting on individual genes to a collective property of all selected genes in the genome. Thus, understanding the direct impacts of ecologically based selection, as well as the indirect effects due to correlations among loci, is critical to understanding speciation. Here, we measure the genome-wide impacts of host-associated selection between hawthorn and apple host races of Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae), a model for contemporary speciation-with-gene-flow. Allele frequency shifts of 32 455 SNPs induced in a selection experiment based on host phenology were genome wide and highly concordant with genetic divergence between co-occurring apple and hawthorn flies in nature. This striking genome-wide similarity between experimental and natural populations of R. pomonella underscores the importance of ecological selection at early stages of divergence and calls for further integration of studies of eco-evolutionary dynamics and genome divergence.




Egan, S. P., Ragland, G. J., Assour, L., Powell, T. H. Q., Hood, G. R., Emrich, S., … Feder, J. L. (2015). Experimental evidence of genome-wide impact of ecological selection during early stages of speciation-with-gene-flow. Ecology Letters, 18(8), 817–825. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12460

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