Recently evolved species typically share genetic variation across their genomes due to incomplete lineage sorting and/or ongoing gene flow. Given only subtle allele frequency differences at most loci and the expectation that divergent selection may affect only a tiny fraction of the genome, distinguishing closely related species based on multi-locus data requires substantial genomic coverage. In this study, we used ddRAD-seq to sample the genomes of five recently diverged, New World “mallards” (Anas spp.), a group of dabbling duck species characterized by diagnosable phenotypic differences but minimal genetic differentiation. With increased genomic sampling, we aimed to characterize population structure within this group and identify genomic regions that may have experienced divergent selection during speciation. We analyzed 3,017 autosomal ddRAD-seq loci and 177 loci from the Z-chromosome. In contrast to previous studies, the ddRAD-seq data were sufficient to assign individuals to their respective species or subspecies and to generate estimates of gene flow in a phylogenetic framework. We find limited evidence of contemporary gene flow between the dichromatic mallard and several monochromatic taxa, but find evidence for historical gene flow between some monochromatic species pairs. We conclude that the overall genetic similarity of these taxa likely reflects retained ancestral polymorphism rather than recent and extensive gene flow. Thus, despite recurring cases of hybridization in this group, our results challenge the current dogma predicting the genetic extinction of the New World monochromatic dabbling ducks via introgressive hybridization with mallards. Moreover, ddRAD-seq data were sufficient to identify previously unknown outlier regions across the Z-chromosome and several autosomal chromosomes that may have been involved in the diversification of species in this recent radiation.
- population genomics
- sex chromosome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics