Secondary contact, introgressive hybridization and genome stabilization in sticklebacks
by Xueyun Feng | Juha Merilä | Ari Löytynoja | University of Helsinki | The University of Hongkong | University of Helsinki
Abstract ID: 19
Event: The 3rd AsiaEvo Conference
Topic: The genomics of adaptation and speciation
Presenter Name: Juha Merilä

Advances in genomic studies have revealed that hybridization in nature is pervasive and raised questions about the dynamics of different genetic and evolutionary factors following the initial hybridization event. While recent research has proposed that the genomic outcomes of hybridization might be predictable to some extent, many uncertainties remain. With comprehensive whole-genome sequence data, we investigated the genetic introgression between two divergent lineages of nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius) in the Baltic Sea. We found that the intensity and direction of selection on the introgressed variation varied across different genomic elements: while functionally important regions had experienced reduced rates of introgression, promoter regions showed enrichment. Despite the general trend of negative selection, we identified specific genomic regions that were enriched for introgressed variants and within these regions, we detected footprints of selection, indicating adaptive introgression. We found the selection against the functional changes to be strongest in the vicinity of the secondary contact zone and weaken as a function of distance from the initial contact. Altogether, the results suggest that the stabilization of introgressed variation in the genomes is a complex, multi-stage process involving both negative and positive selection. In spite of the predominance of negative selection against introgressed variants, we also found evidence for adaptive introgression variants likely associated with adaptation to Baltic Sea environmental conditions.