The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 03. Divergence with gene flow – the amphibian perspective

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Open Access

Authors: Nadachowska, Krystyna

Abstract: Advances in molecular and computational biology as well as in population genetics theory open new avenues in the study of speciation, for example enabling the explicit estimation of the amount of gene flow that has occurred during population divergence. Developments in two areas seem particularly important. First, novel coalescent-based methods can be applied to multilocus sequence data to infer the time of population divergence, long-term effective population sizes and their changes and the extent of gene flow between diverging populations. Second, the advent of ultra high-throughput sequencing technologies enable the inexpensive generation of vast amount of sequence data for any organism. Many amphibian species have been shown to be incompletely reproductively isolated and can hybridize for prolonged periods of time, making them ideal models to study the divergence of populations to form new taxa despite ongoing gene flow. Here I discuss the new findings emerging from multilocus DNA sequence-based approaches that have already been applied in amphibian population genetics. I also outline future directions of research, emphasizing the utility of parallel sequencing technologies together with methods of population genetic and phylogenetic inference, which are likely to provide a better understanding of the process of population differentiation and divergence to ultimately form new species.

Keywords: COALESCENT-BASED METHODS, ISOLATION WITH MIGRATION, ULTRA HIGH-THROUGHPUT SEQUENCING, DIVERGENCE MODELS, AMPHIBIANS

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