Hybridization has a major role in evolution-from the introgression of important phenotypic traits between species, to the creation of new species through hybrid speciation. Molecular studies of hybridization aim to understand the class of hybrids and the frequency of introgression, detect the signature of ancient hybridization, and understand the behaviour of introgressed loci in their new genomic background. This often involves a large investment in the design and application of molecular markers, leading to a compromise between the depth and breadth of genomic data. New techniques designed to assay a large sub-section of the genome, in association with next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, will allow genome-wide hybridization and introgression studies in organisms with no prior sequence data. These detailed genotypic data will unite the breadth of sampling of loci characteristic of population genetics with the depth of sequence information associated with molecular phylogenetics. In this review, we assess the theoretical and methodological constraints that limit our understanding of natural hybridization, and promote the use of NGS for detecting hybridization and introgression between non-model organisms. We also make recommendations for the ways in which emerging techniques, such as pooled barcoded amplicon sequencing and restriction site-associated DNA tags, should be used to overcome current limitations, and enhance our understanding of this evolutionary significant process.
- next-generation sequencing
- reticulate evolution
- single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)
- restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) tags