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Title: Lacustrine speciation associated with chromosomal inversion in a lineage of riverine fishes

Geographic isolation is the primary driver of speciation in many vertebrate lineages. This trend is exemplified by North American darters, a clade of freshwater fishes where nearly all sister species pairs are allopatric and separated by millions of years of divergence. One of the only exceptions is the Lake Waccamaw endemic Etheostoma perlongum and its riverine sister species Etheostoma maculaticeps, which have no physical barriers to gene flow. Here we show that lacustrine speciation of E. perlongum is characterized by morphological and ecological divergence likely facilitated by a large chromosomal inversion. While E. perlongum is phylogenetically nested within the geographically widespread E. maculaticeps, there is a sharp genetic and morphological break coinciding with the lake–river boundary in the Waccamaw River system. Despite recent divergence, an active hybrid zone, and ongoing gene flow, analyses using a de novo reference genome reveal a 9 Mb chromosomal inversion with elevated divergence between E. perlongum and E. maculaticeps. This region exhibits striking synteny with known inversion supergenes in two distantly related fish lineages, suggesting deep evolutionary convergence of genomic architecture. Our results illustrate that rapid, ecological speciation with gene flow is possible even in lineages where geographic isolation is the dominant mechanism of speciation.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford Academic
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1505 to 1521
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
speciation, structural variation, evolutionary genomics, population genetics, ecomorphology, Etheostoma
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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