Category Archives: speciation

The diversity hiding in lizard blood

  Pathogens have got this reproduction thing figured out. Clone yourself and grow populations quickly? Sure. Occasionally reproduce sexually? Absolutely. The have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too reproductive modes among biological lineages that are capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction throw a mighty wrench … Continue reading

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Rooting eukaryotes in the Arctic Ocean

While the general consensus has centered around the evolution of eukaryotes within the TACK superphylum of Archaea (Thaum-, Aigar-, Cren-, and Kor-archaeota), considerable controversy yet remains with (a) the rooting of the eukaryote common ancestor, and (b) ‘missing’ links in … Continue reading

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Gene flow and Population Fitness

Fitness effects of gene flow (both advantageous and deleterious) have garnered plenty of recent press and scientific exploration. At the population level, the concepts and consequences are notoriously familiar. In the context of immigration, they reduce to existing genetic variation, … Continue reading

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Extinct and extant Equus genomes reveal speciation with gene flow despite chromosome number variation

In their recent PNAS paper*, Hákon et al. generate full genome sequence data for each living species of asses and zebras, thus completing the set of genomes available for all extant species in the genus Equus (genomes for the donkey and … Continue reading

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Plastic and evolved responses to host fruit in apple maggot flies

The apple maggot fly, Rhagoletis pomonella, is a prominent system for the study of sympatric speciation. Sister taxa in the R. pomonella species complex, the apple-infesting race of R. pomonella and the snowberry-infesting R. zephyria, have sympatric distributions and the fruiting time of their preferred hosts widely overlaps. … Continue reading

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Haploid-diploidy, a (brief?) history

Haploid-diploid life cycles are not only good exercise for the brain, but they’re also fantastic study systems to investigate a myriad of questions. Yet, the majority of molecular studies have focused on the diploid-dominated life cycles of animal and plant … Continue reading

Posted in DNA barcoding, domestication, evolution, genomics, haploid-diploid, natural history, population genetics, selection, speciation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speciation by selection (and drift) in the sea

Marine systems challenge the view that speciation is the result of geographic isolation. Many marine taxa have large effective population sizes, which slows lineage sorting, larval dispersal phases that may extend for days, weeks, and sometimes months, potentially connecting far flung populations, … Continue reading

Posted in genomics, next generation sequencing, selection, speciation | Leave a comment

Just like an elephant and a manatee …

There is a positive correlation between the time since two lineages have diverged and the strength of the reproductive barriers between them. Rothfels et al. (2015) have described a natural hybridization event between two fern genera that diverged from one … Continue reading

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Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

Many animals use visual signals to scope out potential mates. In a new paper in Molecular Ecology, Sandkam et al. (2015) demonstrate that the variation underlying preference in female guppies could be explained by simple changes in expression and coding of … Continue reading

Posted in Coevolution, evolution, Molecular Ecology, the journal, natural history, population genetics, speciation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Breaking free of the guide tree: two new species delimitation methods

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a new method to incorporate morphology and DNA sequences into species delimitation. Including both data types improved the results but a couple of tricky spots remained: 1) correctly assigning individuals to putative species and 2) estimating … Continue reading

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