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Paper offers new insights into the genomics of speciation
Date:5/10/2010

he fruit of hawthorn trees. But about 150 years ago, a portion of the hawthorn fly population shifted and began to feed on apples. In ecologically adapting to apples as a new host plant, apple flies are becoming genetically distinct and reproductively isolated from hawthorn flies. Apple and hawthorn flies are therefore considered to represent "host races" in the early stages of actively diverging into species. As such, the apple and hawthorn races of Rhagoeitis pomonella provided Feder and his fellow researchers a unique opportunity to conduct a direct experimental test of the island versus continents hypotheses.

"This type of comprehensive data, particularly the experimental results, are missing from the bevy of genome scan studies performed in the last few years lending support to the island hypothesis," Feder said. "Without experimental data on responses to selection, these genome scan studies alone can be biased toward identifying isolated outer loci, supporting the island hypothesis.

"We foresee that as mass genotyping techniques continue to advance, it will be these types of inquires and questions that come to dominate the emerging field of population genomics and speciation. We hope our study offers a glimpse of what the future may look like."


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Contact: Jeffrey L. Feder
feder.2@nd.edu
574-631-4159
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

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