A mitochondrial genetic divergence proxy predicts the reproductive compatibility of mammalian hybrids
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Numerous pairs of evolutionarily divergent mammalian species have been shown to produce hybrid offspring. In some cases, F 1 hybrids are able to produce F 2 s through matings with F 1 s. In other instances, the hybrids are only able to produce offspring themselves through backcrosses with a parent species owing to unisexual sterility (Haldane's Rule). Here, we explicitly tested whether genetic distance, computed from mitochondrial and nuclear genes, can be used as a proxy to predict the relative fertility of the hybrid offspring resulting from matings between species of terrestrial mammals. We assessed the proxy's predictive power using a well-characterized felid hybrid system, and applied it to modern and ancient hominins. Our results revealed a small overlap in mitochondrial genetic distance values that distinguish species pairs whose calculated distances fall within two categories: those whose hybrid offspring follow Haldane's Rule, and those whose hybrid F 1 offspring can produce F 2 s. The strong correlation between genetic distance and hybrid fertility demonstrated here suggests that this proxy can be employed to predict whether the hybrid offspring of two mammalian species will follow Haldane's Rule.
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
- evolution, gene flow, genetic distance, hybrid