Epistatic mutations under divergent selection govern phenotypic variation in the crow hybrid zone

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The evolution of genetic barriers opposing interspecific gene flow is key to the origin of new species. Drawing from information on over 400 admixed genomes sourced from replicate transects across the European hybrid zone between all-black carrion crows and grey-coated hooded crows, we decipher the interplay between phenotypic divergence and selection at the molecular level. Over 68% of plumage variation was explained by epistasis between the gene NDP and a ~2.8-megabase region on chromosome 18 with suppressed recombination. Both pigmentation loci showed evidence for divergent selection resisting introgression. This study reveals how few, large-effect loci can govern prezygotic isolation and shield phenotypic divergence from gene flow.


  • Ulrich Knief
  • Christen M. Bossu
  • Nicola Saino
  • Bengt Hansson
  • Jelmer Poelstra
  • Nagarjun Vijay
  • Matthias Weissensteiner
  • Jochen B.W. Wolf
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Uppsala universitet
  • Stockholms universitet
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Milan
  • Duke University
  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal
  • Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Evolutionsbiologi
Sidor (från-till)570-576
Antal sidor7
TidskriftNature Ecology and Evolution
Utgåva nummer4
StatusPublished - 2019
Peer review utfördJa