The genomic landscape underlying phenotypic integrity in the face of gene flow in crows.

Poelstra JW, Vijay N, Bossu CM, Lantz H, Ryll B, Müller I, Baglione V, Unneberg P, Wikelski M, Grabherr MG, Wolf JB

Science 344 (6190) 1410-1414 [2014-06-20; online 2014-06-21]

The importance, extent, and mode of interspecific gene flow for the evolution of species has long been debated. Characterization of genomic differentiation in a classic example of hybridization between all-black carrion crows and gray-coated hooded crows identified genome-wide introgression extending far beyond the morphological hybrid zone. Gene expression divergence was concentrated in pigmentation genes expressed in gray versus black feather follicles. Only a small number of narrow genomic islands exhibited resistance to gene flow. One prominent genomic region (<2 megabases) harbored 81 of all 82 fixed differences (of 8.4 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms in total) linking genes involved in pigmentation and in visual perception-a genomic signal reflecting color-mediated prezygotic isolation. Thus, localized genomic selection can cause marked heterogeneity in introgression landscapes while maintaining phenotypic divergence.

Affiliated researcher

PubMed 24948738

DOI 10.1126/science.1253226

Crossref 10.1126/science.1253226

pii: 344/6190/1410