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Speciation with gene flow OR speciation and gene flow

In recent years, the rise of non-model pop genomics paired with the development of robust and powerful tests of gene flow [both genome-wide (e.g. f3 tests, D-stats, and rolloff [read here] and treemix) and across in genomic regions (e.g. hapmix, finestructure)] has allowed us to explore the extent of gene flow in in diverged species pairs. While results-to-date likely suffer from biases in ascertainment (i.e. we’re more prone to look for gene flow in cases where it’s likely), and publication (no gene flow might not be a catchy title or result), the weight of evidence suggests that we shouldn’t be shocked by gene flow between recently diverged species/populations . At first blush, evidence for gene flow between species may lead us to think that ‘speciation with gene flow’ [e.g. Feder et. al.)] is common; however, there is a difference between speciation with gene flow vs speciation and gene flow.

The prior describes the case where speciation occurs even with ongoing gene exchange between diverging species-to-be, the later describes minor exchange of genes between good species after speciation is complete. Like the contrast between ‘genomic islands of speciation’ and ‘genomic islands and speciation’, concerns about ‘speciation with gene flow’ and ‘speciation and gene flow’ reflect the extreme caution and strong evidence needed to go from pattern to process in population genomic analyses. Interested readers should check out a recent exciting twitter discussion between Graham Coop, Matt Hahn, Mohamed Noor and Josh Schraiber (below). The take home message is that, in population genomic analyses, we must be careful not to let our excitement about a cool potential process to get ahead of what we can infer from a pattern.


About Yaniv Brandvain

I'm a population geneticist in the department of plant biology at the university of minnesota


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(10/11/17) -- In our new paper Heath Blackmon shows that sexually antagonistic selection can lead to the breakdown of Y chromosomes by favoring inversions that cause aneuploidy.

(9/14/17) -- Postdoc Adam on the unusual S locus of Leavenworthia in New Phytologist [paper].

(9/1/17) -- (former :( ) Postdoc Heath Blackmon starts as an assistant professor at Texas A&M.

(8/30/17) -- Annual lab trip to the state fair! [pic].

(7/1/17) -- Our paper showing that self‐compatibility is over‐represented on islands is out in New Phytologist [link].

(5/1/17) -- It's fun to be the popgen / natural variation part of a team aiming to domesticate Silphium . See our master plan and rational in our Crop Science paper.

(2/6/17) -- Yaniv is Honored to be named a McKnight Land Grant Professor. Read the college announcement here.

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