Hybrid zones typically contain novel gene combinations that can be tested by natural selection in a unique genetic context. Parental haplotypes that increase fitness can introgress beyond the hybrid zone, into the range of parental species. We used the Affymetrix canine SNP genotyping array to identify genomic regions tagged by multiple ancestry informative markers that are more frequent in an admixed population than expected. We surveyed a hybrid zone formed in the last 100 years as coyotes expanded their range into eastern North America. Concomitant with expansion, coyotes hybridized with wolves and some populations became more wolflike, such that coyotes in the northeast have the largest body size of any coyote population. Using a set of 3102 ancestry informative markers, we identified 60 differentially introgressed regions in 44 canines across this admixture zone. These regions are characterized by an excess of exogenous ancestry and, in northeastern coyotes, are enriched for genes affecting body size and skeletal proportions. Further, introgressed wolf-derived alleles have penetrated into Southern US coyote populations. Because no wolves currently exist in this area, these alleles are unlikely to have originated from recent hybridization. Instead, they probably originated from intraspecific gene flow or ancient admixture. We show that grey wolf and coyote admixture has far-reaching effects and, in addition to phenotypically transforming admixed populations, allows for the differential movement of alleles from different parental species to be tested in new genomic backgrounds.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics