Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flycatchers' genomes explain how one species became two

Date:
October 24, 2012
Source:
Uppsala Universitet
Summary:
Just how new species are established is still one of the most central questions in biology. Biologists now describe how they mapped the genomes of the European pied flycatcher and the collared flycatcher and found that it is disparate chromosome structures rather than separate adaptations in individual genes that underlies the separation of the species.

Collared flycatcher.
Credit: Johan Träff

Just how new species are established is still one of the most central questions in biology. In an article in the leading scientific journal Nature, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden describe how they mapped the genomes of the European pied flycatcher and the collared flycatcher and found that it is disparate chromosome structures rather than separate adaptations in individual genes that underlies the separation of the species.

"We were surprised that such a large part of the genome was nearly identical in the two species," says Hans Ellegren, professor of evolutionary biology and director of the research team behind the new findings.

The big question in species-differentiation research today involves the genetic background of how two evolutionary lines gradually come to diverge from each other and ultimately cannot produce fertile young. Horses and donkeys, for instance, can crossbreed and produce mules and hinnies, but something in the genome of the latter makes them infertile. There must therefore be DNA sequences from diverging evolutionary lines that are not compatible.

Researchers at the Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, are now presenting the genome sequence for the two flycatchers, which are the first organisms apart from so-called model organisms, to have their genome sequenced. They are also the first DNA sequences for a vertebrate to have been determined entirely by Swedish researchers and at a Swedish laboratory.

The Uppsala scientists have charted the genome of the flycatchers and then sequenced the entire genome of some ten individuals of European pied flycatcher and the collared flycatcher respectively. The two species occur together on the Baltic islands of Öland and Gotland, where they sometimes hybridize, that is, mate with each other.

The scientists have now managed to identify the regions in the respective flycatchers' genomes that are most clearly different. It turns out that it is a matter of one or a few regions per chromosome, and these regions coincide with the chromosome parts that are involved in meiosis and the production of gender cells (centromeres). This indicates that what underlies the separation of the species it is the disparate chromosome structures rather than different adaptations in individual genes.

"There is good reason to believe that this observation is highly generalizable and that it explains species differentiation across organism groups," says Hans Ellegren.

The European pied flycatcher, and later its close relative the collared flycatcher, have long been an important research organism for scientists at many universities. Their nesting (and thereby reproductive success) is rather easy to observe, as they readily inhabit deployed birdhouses. Over the years Uppsala research has laid a foundation for understanding many general aspects of ecology and evolution, with multiple doctoral dissertations and acclaimed research reports.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Uppsala Universitet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hans Ellegren, Linnéa Smeds, Reto Burri, Pall I. Olason, Niclas Backström, Takeshi Kawakami, Axel Künstner, Hannu Mäkinen, Krystyna Nadachowska-Brzyska, Anna Qvarnström, Severin Uebbing, Jochen B. W. Wolf. The genomic landscape of species divergence in Ficedula flycatchers. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11584

Cite This Page:

Uppsala Universitet. "Flycatchers' genomes explain how one species became two." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024130913.htm>.
Uppsala Universitet. (2012, October 24). Flycatchers' genomes explain how one species became two. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024130913.htm
Uppsala Universitet. "Flycatchers' genomes explain how one species became two." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024130913.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins