Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22201165
Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 2012 Feb;367(1587):354-63
The nature, size and distribution of the genomic regions underlying divergence and promoting reproductive isolation remain largely unknown. Here, we summarize ongoing efforts using young (12 000 yr BP) species pairs of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) to expand our understanding of the initial genomic patterns of divergence observed during speciation. Our results confirmed the predictions that: (i) on average, phenotypic quantitative trait loci (pQTL) show higher F(ST) values and are more likely to be outliers (and therefore candidates for being targets of divergent selection) than non-pQTL markers; (ii) large islands of divergence rather than small independent regions under selection characterize the early stages of adaptive divergence of lake whitefish; and (iii) there is a general trend towards an increase in terms of numbers and size of genomic regions of divergence from the least (East L.) to the most differentiated species pair (Cliff L.). This is consistent with previous estimates of reproductive isolation between these species pairs being driven by the same selective forces responsible for environment specialization. Altogether, dwarf and normal whitefish species pairs represent a continuum of both morphological and genomic differentiation contributing to ecological speciation. Admittedly, much progress is still required to more finely map and circumscribe genomic islands of speciation. This will be achieved through the use of next generation sequencing data but also through a better quantification of phenotypic traits moulded by selection as organisms adapt to new environmental conditions.