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An empirical test of predictions of two competing models for the maintenance and fate of hybrid zones: both models are supported in a hard-clam hybrid zone
Bert, T.M.; Arnold, W.S. (1995). An empirical test of predictions of two competing models for the maintenance and fate of hybrid zones: both models are supported in a hard-clam hybrid zone. Evolution 49(2): 276-286
In: Evolution. Society for the Study of Evolution: Lancaster. ISSN 0014-3820; e-ISSN 1558-5646
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

    Bioselection > Natural selection
    Disciplines > Biology > Genetics > Population genetics > Gene flow
    Environmental effects
    Mercenaria campechiensis (Gmelin, 1791) [WoRMS]; Mercenaria mercenaria (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]

Auteurs  Top 
  • Bert, T.M.
  • Arnold, W.S.

    Two models developed to discern the mode of selection in hybrid zones differ in some predictions. The tension-zone model predicts that selection acts against hybrids and independently of the environment (endogenous selection) and that selection is invariant throughout the hybrid zone. The ecological selection-gradient, or ecotone, model maintains that fitness of different genotypes varies in response to environmental variation (exogenous selection) and thus, that in a region of the zone, fitness of hybrids is at least equal to that of the parental species. Therefore, to assess the predominant mode of selection operating in a hybrid zone, it is fundamental to evaluate whether selection is acting specifically against hybrid individuals, that is, whether hybridity alone is the basis for deficiencies of hybrids, and to evaluate whether the relative fitness of hybrids versus that of pure species varies across the zone. In a hard-clam (genus Mercenaria) hybrid zone located in a polyhaline lagoon in east-central Florida, we used age-specific and location-specific analyses to determine that a hybrid deficit occurrs, that the deficit seems to be due to selection against hybrids, and that selection varies across the zone. Various measures of deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, linkage disequilibrium analyses, and shifts in allele frequencies at semidiagnostic loci support the idea that selection is strongest in the northern region of the lagoon, the zone of sympatry and hybridization. Southward, into the range of M. mercenaria (the numerically predominant species), the percentage of hybrids remains relatively high and selection against hybrids decreases. For some genetic linkage groups, selection for M. mercenaria alleles seems to be occurring, but selection seems to be acting principally against alleles characteristic of M. mercenaria and, to a lesser degree, for alleles characteristic of M. campechiensis (the rarer species). These findings and others from previous analyses we have done on this hybrid zone demonstrate that selection in the zone is complex, and that characteristics of both the tension-zone and ecotone models are present. Supporting the tension-zone model, selection against hybrids per se clearly occurs, but specific genotypes seem to be at a selective disadvantage, whereas others have a selective advantage, and selection operates differentially on the two parental species within the zone. Supporting the ecotone model, the strength of overall selection varies throughout the zone, and environmentally mediated selection in which each species and hybrids have an advantage in specific habitats occurs, but some selection against hybrids is invariant throughout the zone. Thus, the structure and genetic architecture of this hybrid zone appear to be products of a complicated interaction between both types of selective forces cited in the two competing models.

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