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Shift in thinking about genomics of speciation

Research Achievements

Shift in thinking about genomics of speciation

A new paper by a team of researchers led by GLOBES PI Jeffrey Feder heralds an important shift in thinking about the genomics of speciation. Titled "Widespread genomic divergence during sympatric speciation," the paper appears in the May 10, 2010, edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the new paper, the Feder team including GLOBES trainee Sheina Sim, report experimental and genomic evidence that, contrary to the prevailing assumption, speciation in the classic apple maggot fly system Rhagoletis pomonella involves genome-wide differentiation driven by natural selection. The study results conflict with current thinking about how the genomes of newly forming species should differ during the earliest stages of divergence. Rather than finding isolated "genomic islands," they discovered "continents" of divergence encompassing large swaths of the genome. The paper contributes to the growing body of research that seeks to understand the essence of biodiversity.