Speciation with gene flow in equids despite extensive chromosomal plasticity

Hákon Jáónsson, Mikkel Schubert, Andaine Seguin-Orlando, Auráóélien Ginolhac, Lillian Petersen, Matteo Fumagalli, Anders Albrechtsen, Bent Petersen, Thorfinn S. Korneliussen, Julia T. Vilstrup, Teri Lear, Jennifer Leigh Myka, Judith Lundquist, Donald C. Miller, Ahmed H. Alfarhan, Saleh A. Alquraishi, Khaled A. S. Al-Rasheid, Julia Stagegaard, Günter Strauss, Mads Frost BertelsenThomas Sicheritz-Pontén, Douglas F. Antczak, Ernest Bailey, Rasmus Nielsen, Eske Willerslev, Ludovic Orlando

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Significance Thirty years after the first DNA fragment from the extinct quagga zebra was sequenced, we set another milestone in equine genomics by sequencing its entire genome, along with the genomes of the surviving equine species. This extensive dataset allows us to decipher the genetic makeup underlying lineage-specific adaptations and reveal the complex history of equine speciation. We find that Equus first diverged in the New World, spread across the Old World 2.1–3.4 Mya, and finally experienced major demographic expansions and collapses coinciding with past climate changes. Strikingly, we find multiple instances of hybridization throughout the equine tree, despite extremely divergent chromosomal structures. This contrasts with theories promoting chromosomal incompatibilities as drivers for the origin of equine species.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    Volume111
    Issue number52
    Pages (from-to)18655-18660
    Number of pages6
    ISSN0027-8424
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • Equids
    • Evolutionary genomics
    • Speciation
    • Admixture
    • Chromosomal rearrangements

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