BMC Evolutionary Biology
Hybridization is very common in plants, and the incorporation of new alleles into existing lineages (i.e. admixture) can blur species boundaries. However, admixture also has the potential to increase standing genetic variation. With new sequencing methods, we can now study admixture and reproductive isolation at a much finer scale than in the past. The genus Boechera is an extraordinary example of admixture, with over 400 hybrid derivates of varying ploidy levels. Yet, few studies have assessed admixture in this genus on a genomic scale.
In this study, we used Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS) to clarify the evolution of the Boechera puberula clade, whose six members are scattered across the western United States. We further assessed patterns of admixture and reproductive isolation within the group, including two additional species (B. stricta and B. retrofracta) that are widespread across North America. Based on 14,815 common genetic variants, we found evidence for some cases of hybridization. We find evidence of both recent and more ancient admixture, and that levels of admixture vary across species.
We present evidence for a monophyletic origin of the B. puberula group, and a split of B. puberula into two subspecies. Further, when inferring reproductive isolation on the basis of presence and absence of admixture, we found that the accumulation of reproductive isolation between species does not seem to occur linearly with time since divergence in this system. We discuss our results in the context of sexuality and asexuality in Boechera.
Schilling, Martin P.; Gompert, Zachariah; Li, Fay-Wei; Windham, Michael D.; and Wolf, Paul G., "Admixture, Evolution, and Variation in Reproductive Isolation in the Boechera puberula clade" (2018). Biology Faculty Publications. Paper 1587.