Hybridization in closely related Rhododendron species: Half of all species-differentiating markers experience serious transmission ratio distortion

Tobias Marczewski*, David F. Chamberlain, Richard I. Milne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An increasing number of studies of hybridization in recent years have revealed that complete reproductive isolation between species is frequently not finalized in more or less closely related organisms. Most of these species do, however, seem to retain their phenotypical characteristics despite the implication of gene flow, highlighting the remaining gap in our knowledge of how much of an organism's genome is permeable to gene flow, and which factors promote or prevent hybridization. We used AFLP markers to investigate the genetic composition of three populations involving two interfertile Rhododendron species: two sympatric populations, of which only one contained hybrids, and a further hybrid-dominated population. No fixed differences between the species were found, and only 5.8% of the markers showed some degree of species differentiation. Additionally, 45.5% of highly species-differentiating markers experienced significant transmission distortion in the hybrids, which was most pronounced in F1 hybrids, suggesting that factors conveying incompatibilities are still segregating within the species. Furthermore, the two hybrid populations showed stark contrasting composition of hybrids; one was an asymmetrically backcrossing hybrid swarm, while in the other, backcrosses were absent, thus preventing gene flow.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology and Evolution
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • AFLP
  • Hybridization
  • Rhododendron
  • Species differentiation

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