Backström N, Lindell J, Zhang Y, Palkopoulou E, Qvarnström A, Saetre GP, Ellegren H
Evolution 64 (12) 3461-3475 [2010-12-00; online 2010-07-16]
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.
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