Natural cases of salamander hybridization suggest a consistent relationship between genetic distance and reproductive isolation across tetrapods

Melander, Scott, author
Mueller, Rachel, advisor
Sloan, Dan, committee member
Ebel, Greg, committee member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Hybridization between populations along the path to complete reproductive isolation can provide snapshots of speciation in action. Here, we present the first comprehensive list of natural salamander hybrids and estimate genetic distances between the parental hybridizing species using a mitochondrial and nuclear gene (MT-CYB and RAG1). Salamanders are outliers among tetrapod vertebrates in having low metabolic rates and highly variable sex chromosomes. Both of these features might be expected to impact speciation; mismatches between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes that encode the proteins for oxidative metabolism, as well as mismatches in heteromorphic sex chromosomes, can lead to reproductive isolation. We compared the genetic distances between hybridizing parental species across four main tetrapod clades that differ in metabolic rates and sex chromosome diversity: salamanders, lizards, mammals, and birds. Our results reveal no significant differences, suggesting that variation in these traits across vertebrates does not translate into predictable patterns of genetic divergence and incompatible loci in hybrids.
2019 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights Access
Associated Publications