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Dunning, L.T.; Hipperson, H.; Baker, W.J.; Butlin, R.K.; Devaux, C.; Hutton, I.; Igea, J.; Papadopulos, A.S.T.; Quan, X.; Smadja, C.M.; Turnbull, C.G.N.; Savolainen, V. (2016)
Publisher: Wiley
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:

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mesheuropmc: food and beverages
Ecological speciation requires divergent selection, reproductive isolation and a genetic mechanism to link the two. We examined the role of gene expression and coding sequence evolution in this process using two species of Howea palms that have diverged sympatrically on Lord Howe Island, Australia. These palms are associated with distinct soil types and have displaced flowering times, representing an ideal candidate for ecological speciation. We generated large amounts of RNA-Seq data from multiple individuals and tissue types collected on the island from each of the two species. We found that differentially expressed loci as well as those with divergent coding sequences between Howea species were associated with known ecological and phenotypic differences, including response to salinity, drought, pH and flowering time. From these loci, we identified potential 'ecological speciation genes' and further validate their effect on flowering time by knocking out orthologous loci in a model plant species. Finally, we put forward six plausible ecological speciation loci, providing support for the hypothesis that pleiotropy could help to overcome the antagonism between selection and recombination during speciation with gene flow.

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