Parasite dispersal influences introgression rate

Parasite dispersal influences introgression rate

Abstract

Dispersal is a central process in biology with implications at multiple scales of organization. Organisms vary in their dispersal abilities, and these differences can have important biological consequences, such as impacting the likelihood of hybridization events. However, the factors shaping the frequency of hybridization are still poorly understood, and therefore how dispersal ability affects the opportunities for hybridization is still unknown. Here, using the ecological replicate system of dove wing and body lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera), we show that species with higher dispersal abilities exhibited increased genomic signatures of introgression. Specifically, we found a higher proportion of introgressed genomic reads and more reticulated phylogenetic networks in wing lice, the louse group with higher dispersal abilities. Our results illustrate how differences in dispersal ability can drive differences in the extent of introgression through hybridization. The results from this study represent an important step for understanding the factors driving hybridization. We expect our approach will stimulate future studies on the ecological factors shaping hybridization to further understand this important process.

Publication
BioRxiv.