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Genetic structure and gene flow in French populations of two Ostrinia taxa: host races or sibling species?

Abstract : Most models of ecological speciation concern phytophagous insects in which speciation is thought to be driven by host shifts and subsequent adaptations of populations. Despite the ever-increasing number of studies, the current evolutionary status of most models remains incompletely resolved, as estimates of gene flow between taxa remain extremely rare. We studied the population genetics of two taxa of the Ostrinia genus — one feeding mainly on maize and the other on mugwort and hop — occurring in sympatry throughout France. The actual level of divergence of these taxa was unknown because the genetic structure of populations had been investigated over a limited geographical area and the magnitude of gene flow between populations had not been estimated. We used 11 microsatellite markers to investigate the genetic structure of populations throughout France and the extent of gene flow between the two Ostrinia taxa at several sites at which they are sympatric. We observed clear genetic differentiation between most populations collected on the typical respective hosts of each taxon. However, populations displaying intermediate allelic frequencies were found on hop plants in southern France. Individual assignments revealed that this result could be accounted for by the presence of both taxa on the same host. Gene flow, estimated by determining the proportion of hybrids detected, was low: probably < 1% per generation, regardless of site. This indicates that the two Ostrinia taxa have reached a high level of genetic divergence and should be considered sibling species rather than host races
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Thibaut Malausa, Ambroise Dalecky, Sergine Ponsard, Philippe Audiot, Réjane Streiff, et al.. Genetic structure and gene flow in French populations of two Ostrinia taxa: host races or sibling species?. Molecular Ecology, Wiley, 2007, 16 (20), pp.4210-4222. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03457.x⟩. ⟨hal-02662428⟩

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