“Our work demonstrates amazing flexibility in the genomes of closely related species,” says Dr David Weetman, co-first author from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. “The genomic section replaced is huge and was previously considered a major ‘speciation island’ – a probable location for genes that drive reproductive isolation between the species.
“The findings not only call into question the general importance of speciation islands, but also importantly show that these closely related mosquito species can evolve largely separately but then interchange genetic information to allow rapid adaptation to environmental changes driven by human activity.”
“Through our collaborations we are learning how to use Anopheles genomic information to address questions of immense evolutionary and public health importance,” says Professor Martin Donnelly, senior author of the study from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. “This paper is just a foretaste of the types of studies that the vector community will be able to perform as the Anopheles gambiae 1000 Genome data sets become available."
“This is a wonderful example of how new technologies for genome sequence analysis can elucidate specific biological questions in the field,” says Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski, Head of the Malaria Programme at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, whose team have worked closely with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine on the project.
Notes to Editors
Clarkson et al. Adaptive introgression between Anopheles sibling species eliminates a major genomic island but not reproductive isolation. Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 25;5:4248. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5248.
This work was supported by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the MalariaGEN Resource Centre, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the Wellcome Trust.
- Department of Vector Biology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool, UK
- Cape Coast Department of Entomology and Wildlife, School of Biological Science, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
- Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Legon, Accra, Ghana
- Malaria Programme, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
- Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
- Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
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