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Defining Species When There is Gene Flow

Jiao, X; Yang, Z; (2021) Defining Species When There is Gene Flow. Systematic Biology , 70 (1) pp. 108-119. 10.1093/sysbio/syaa052. Green open access

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Abstract

Whatever one’s definition of species, it is generally expected that individuals of the same species should be genetically more similar to each other than they are to individuals of another species. Here, we show that in the presence of cross-species gene flow, this expectation may be incorrect. We use the multispecies coalescent model with continuous-time migration or episodic introgression to study the impact of gene flow on genetic differences within and between species and highlight a surprising but plausible scenario in which different population sizes and asymmetrical migration rates cause a genetic sequence to be on average more closely related to a sequence from another species than to a sequence from the same species. Our results highlight the extraordinary impact that even a small amount of gene flow may have on the genetic history of the species. We suggest that contrasting long-term migration rate and short-term hybridization rate, both of which can be estimated using genetic data, may be a powerful approach to detecting the presence of reproductive barriers and to define species boundaries.[Gene flow; introgression; migration; multispecies coalescent; species concept; species delimitation.]

Type: Article
Title: Defining Species When There is Gene Flow
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/sysbio/syaa052
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syaa052
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102376
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