Differential introgression suggests candidate beneficial and barrier loci between two parapatric subspecies of Pearson's horseshoe bat Rhinolophus pearsoni .

Research paper by Xiuguang X Mao, Shuyi S Zhang, Stephen J SJ Rossiter

Indexed on: 01 Aug '16Published on: 01 Aug '16Published in: Current zoology


Observations that rates of introgression between taxa can vary across loci are increasingly common. Here, we test for differential locus-wise introgression in 2 parapatric subspecies of Pearson's horseshoe bat (and). To efficiently identify putative speciation genes and/or beneficial genes in our current system, we used a candidate gene approach by including loci from X chromosome that are suggested to be more likely involved in reproductive isolation in other organisms and loci underlying hearing that have been suggested to spread across the hybrid zone in another congeneric species. Phylogenetic and coalescent analyses were performed at 2 X-linked, 4 hearing genes, as well as 2 other autosomal loci individually. Likelihood ratio tests could not reject the model of zero gene flow at 2 X-linked and 2 autosomal genes. In contrast, gene flow was supported at 3 of 4 hearing genes. While this introgression could be adaptive, we cannot rule out stochastic processes. Our results highlight the utility of the candidate gene approach in searching for speciation genes and/or beneficial genes across the species boundary in natural populations.