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  1. The significance of prezygotic isolation for speciation has been recognized at least since the Modern Synthesis. However, fundamental questions remain. For example, how are genetic associations between traits that contribute to prezygotic isolation maintained? What is the source of genetic variation underlying the evolution of these traits? And how do prezygotic barriers affect patterns of gene flow? We address these questions by reviewing genetic features shared across plants and animals that influence prezygotic isolation. Emerging technologies increasingly enable the identification and functional characterization of the genes involved, allowing us to test established theoretical expectations. Embedding these genes in their developmental context will allow further predictions about what constrains the evolution of prezygotic isolation. Ongoing improvements in statistical and computational tools will reveal how pre- and postzygotic isolation may differ in how they influence gene flow across the genome. Finally, we highlight opportunities for progress by combining theory with appropriate data. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    The reuse of old genetic variation can promote rapid diversification in evolutionary radiations, but in most cases, the historical events underlying this divergence are not known. For example, ancient hybridization can generate new combinations of alleles that sort into descendant lineages, potentially providing the raw material to initiate divergence. In the Mimulus aurantiacus species complex, there is evidence for widespread gene flow among members of this radiation. In addition, allelic variation in the MaMyb2 gene is responsible for differences in flower color between the closely related ecotypes of subspecies puniceus, contributing to reproductive isolation by pollinators. Previous work suggested that MaMyb2 was introgressed into the red-flowered ecotype of puniceus. However, additional taxa within the radiation have independently evolved red flowers from their yellow-flowered ancestors, raising the possibility that this introgression had a more ancient origin. In this study, we used repeated tests of admixture from whole-genome sequence data across this diverse radiation to demonstrate that there has been both ancient and recurrent hybridization in this group. However, most of the signal of this ancient introgression has been removed due to selection, suggesting that widespread barriers to gene flow are in place between taxa. Yet, a roughly 30 kb region that contains the MaMyb2 gene is currently shared only among the red-flowered taxa. Patterns of admixture, sequence divergence, and extended haplotype homozygosity across this region confirm a history of ancient hybridization, where functional variants have been preserved due to positive selection in red-flowered taxa but lost in their yellow-flowered counterparts. The results of this study reveal that selection against gene flow can reduce genomic signatures of ancient hybridization, but that historical introgression can provide essential genetic variation that facilitates the repeated evolution of phenotypic traits between lineages.

     
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  4. Abstract The unique life form of plants promotes the accumulation of somatic mutations that can be passed to offspring in the next generation, because the same meristem cells responsible for vegetative growth also generate gametes for sexual reproduction. However, little is known about the consequences of somatic mutation accumulation for offspring fitness. We evaluate the fitness effects of somatic mutations in Mimulus guttatus by comparing progeny from self-pollinations made within the same flower (autogamy) to progeny from self-pollinations made between stems on the same plant (geitonogamy). The effects of somatic mutations are evident from this comparison, as autogamy leads to homozygosity of a proportion of somatic mutations, but progeny from geitonogamy remain heterozygous for mutations unique to each stem. In two different experiments, we find consistent fitness effects of somatic mutations from individual stems. Surprisingly, several progeny groups from autogamous crosses displayed increases in fitness compared to progeny from geitonogamy crosses, likely indicating that beneficial somatic mutations occurred in some stems. These results support the hypothesis that somatic mutations accumulate during vegetative growth, but they are filtered by different forms of selection that occur throughout development, resulting in the culling of expressed deleterious mutations and the retention of beneficial mutations. 
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  5. The unique life form of plants promotes the accumulation of somatic mutations that can be passed to offspring in the next generation, because the same meristem cells responsible for vegetative growth also generate gametes for sexual reproduction. However, little is known about the consequences of somatic mutation accumulation for offspring fitness. We evaluate the fitness effects of somatic mutations in Mimulus guttatus by comparing progeny from self-pollinations made within the same flower (autogamy) to progeny from self-pollinations made between stems on the same plant (geitonogamy). The effects of somatic mutations are evident from this comparison, as autogamy leads to homozygosity of a proportion of somatic mutations, but progeny from geitonogamy remain heterozygous for mutations unique to each stem. In two different experiments, we find consistent fitness effects of somatic mutations from individual stems. Surprisingly, several progeny groups from autogamous crosses displayed increases in fitness compared to progeny from geitonogamy crosses, likely indicating that beneficial somatic mutations occurred in some stems. These results support the hypothesis that somatic mutations accumulate during vegetative growth, but they are filtered by different forms of selection that occur throughout development, resulting in the culling of expressed deleterious mutations and the retention of beneficial mutations. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Imperfect historical records and complex demographic histories present challenges for reconstructing the history of biological invasions. Here, we combine historical records, extensive worldwide and genome-wide sampling, and demographic analyses to investigate the global invasion of Mimulus guttatus from North America to Europe and the Southwest Pacific. By sampling 521 plants from 158 native and introduced populations genotyped at >44,000 loci, we determined that invasive M. guttatus was first likely introduced to the British Isles from the Aleutian Islands (Alaska), followed by admixture from multiple parts of the native range. We hypothesise that populations in the British Isles then served as a bridgehead for vanguard invasions worldwide. Our results emphasise the highly admixed nature of introduced M. guttatus and demonstrate the potential of introduced populations to serve as sources of secondary admixture, producing novel hybrids. Unravelling the history of biological invasions provides a starting point to understand how invasive populations adapt to novel environments. 
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  7. Abstract

    Many forms of reproductive isolation contribute to speciation, and early‐acting barriers may be especially important, because they have the first opportunity to limit gene flow. Ecogeographic isolation occurs when intrinsic traits of taxa contribute to disjunct geographic distributions, reducing the frequency of intertaxon mating. Characterizing this form of isolation requires knowledge of both the geographic arrangement of suitable habitats in nature and the identification of phenotypes involved in shaping geographic distributions. InMimulus aurantiacus,red‐ and yellow‐flowered ecotypes are incompletely isolated by divergent selection exerted by different pollinators. However, these emerging taxa are largely isolated spatially, with a hybrid zone occurring along a narrow region of contact. In order to assess whether responses to abiotic conditions contribute to the parapatric distribution of ecotypes, we measured a series of ecophysiological traits from populations along a transect, including drought sensitivity, leaf area and the concentrations of vegetative flavonoids. In contrast to the abrupt transitions in floral phenotypes, we found that ecophysiological traits exhibited a continuous geographic transition that largely mirrors variation in climatological variables. These traits may impede gene flow across a continuous environmental gradient, but they would be unlikely to result in ecotypic divergence alone. Nevertheless, we found a genetic correlation between vegetative and floral traits, providing a potential link between the two forms of isolation. Although neither barrier appears sufficient to cause divergence on its own, the combined impacts of local adaptation to abiotic conditions and regional adaptation to pollinators may interact to drive discontinuous variation in the face of gene flow in this system.

     
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  8. Abstract

    A major goal of speciation research is to reveal the genomic signatures that accompany the speciation process. Genome scans are routinely used to explore genome‐wide variation and identify highly differentiated loci that may contribute to ecological divergence, but they do not incorporate spatial, phenotypic or environmental data that might enhance outlier detection. Geographic cline analysis provides a potential framework for integrating diverse forms of data in a spatially explicit framework, but has not been used to study genome‐wide patterns of divergence. Aided by a first‐draft genome assembly, we combined anFCTscan and geographic cline analysis to characterize patterns of genome‐wide divergence between divergent pollination ecotypes ofMimulus aurantiacus.FCTanalysis of 58 872SNPs generated viaRAD‐seq revealed little ecotypic differentiation (meanFCT = 0.041), although a small number of loci were moderately‐to‐highly diverged. Consistent with our previous results from the geneMaMyb2, which contributes to differences in flower colour, 130 loci have cline shapes that recapitulate the spatial pattern of trait divergence, suggesting that they may reside in or near the genomic regions that contribute to pollinator isolation. In the narrow hybrid zone between the ecotypes, extensive admixture among individuals and low linkage disequilibrium between markers indicate that most outlier loci are scattered throughout the genome, rather than being restricted to one or a few divergent regions. In addition to revealing the genomic consequences of ecological divergence in this system, we discuss how geographic cline analysis is a powerful but under‐utilized framework for studying genome‐wide patterns of divergence.

     
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