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In the past decade, advances in genome sequencing have allowed researchers to uncover the history of hybridization in diverse groups of species, including our own. Although the field has made impressive progress in documenting the extent of natural hybridization, both historical and recent, there are still many unanswered questions about its genetic and evolutionary consequences. Recent work has suggested that the outcomes of hybridization in the genome may be in part predictable, but many open questions about the nature of selection on hybrids and the biological variables that shape such selection have hampered progress in this area. We synthesize what is known about the mechanisms that drive changes in ancestry in the genome after hybridization, highlight major unresolved questions, and discuss their implications for the predictability of genome evolution after hybridization.
Understanding how organisms adapt to changing environments is a core focus of research in evolutionary biology. One common mechanism is adaptive introgression, which has received increasing attention as a potential route to rapid adaptation in populations struggling in the face of ecological change, particularly global climate change. However, hybridization can also result in deleterious genetic interactions that may limit the benefits of adaptive introgression. Here, we used a combination of genome‐wide quantitative trait locus mapping and differential gene expression analyses between the swordtail fish species
Xiphophorus malincheand X. birchmannito study the consequences of hybridization on thermotolerance. While these two species are adapted to different thermal environments, we document a complicated architecture of thermotolerance in hybrids. We identify a region of the genome that contributes to reduced thermotolerance in individuals heterozygous for X. malincheand X. birchmanniancestry, as well as widespread misexpression in hybrids of genes that respond to thermal stress in the parental species, particularly in the circadian clock pathway. We also show that a previously mapped hybrid incompatibility between X. malincheand X. birchmannicontributes to reduced thermotolerance in hybrids. Together, our results highlight the challenges of understanding the impact of hybridization on complex ecological traits and its potential impact on adaptive introgression.