Advertisement
Research Article

Genetic Tests for Ecological and Allopatric Speciation in Anoles on an Island Archipelago

  • Roger S. Thorpe equal contributor mail,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Roger S. Thorpe, Yann Surget-Groba

    r.s.thorpe@bangor.ac.uk

    Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom

    X
  • Yann Surget-Groba equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Roger S. Thorpe, Yann Surget-Groba

    Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom

    Current address: Université de Genève, Sciences III, Genève, Switzerland

    X
  • Helena Johansson

    Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom

    Current address: Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, Sweden

    X
  • Published: April 29, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000929

Reader Comments (1)

Post a new comment on this article

Copy of the press release originally distributed on April 26, 2010

Posted by PLoS_Genetics on 19 May 2010 at 14:00 GMT

How important is geographical isolation in speciation?

A genetic study of island lizards shows that even those that have been geographically isolated for many millions of years have not evolved into separate species as predicted by conventional evolutionary theory. Professor Roger Thorpe and colleagues Yann Surget-Groba and Helena Johansson, at Bangor University, UK, reveal their findings April 29 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.

Since Darwin's study of the Galapagos Islands, archipelagos have played a central role in understanding how new species evolve from existing ones (speciation). Islands epitomize allopatric speciation, where geographic isolation causes individuals of an original species to accumulate sufficient genetic differences to prevent them breeding with each other when they are reunited.

Current day Martinique in the Lesser Antilles is composed of several ancient islands that have only recently coalesced into a single entity. The phylogeny and geology show that these ancient islands have had their own tree lizard (anole) species for about six to eight million years.

Capitalizing on the islands’ meeting, the authors genetically tested the lizards for reproductive isolation from one another. In using selectively neutral genetic markers, the authors saw that these anoles are freely exchanging genes and therefore not behaving as separate species. Indeed, there is more genetic isolation between conspecifics from different habitats than between those lizards originating from separate ancient islands.

The findings reject allopatric speciation in a case study from a system thought to exemplify it, and suggest the potential importance of speciation due to differences in ecological conditions (ecological speciation). “The next step is to identify the genes controlling the traits influencing the process of speciation”, said Roger Thorpe.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Copy of the press release originally distributed on April 26, 2010

PLoS_Genetics replied to PLoS_Genetics on 19 May 2010 at 14:04 GMT

The following links provide access to some of the news/blog coverage since publication. The journal is not responsible for the content of external sites; some external sites may require registration to view the full article; readers are welcome to judge the merits of each piece, considered in conjunction with the open-access article (http://www.plosgenetics.o...) for themselves.
Science: <http://news.sciencemag.or...>

Science News: <http://www.sciencenews.or...>

KopalniaWiedzy.pl:
<http://kopalniawiedzy.pl/...>

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: Copy of the press release originally distributed on April 26, 2010

PLoS_Genetics replied to PLoS_Genetics on 20 May 2010 at 11:07 GMT

Nature and Science also covered the article. The references are:

Nature. Not-so-lonesome lizards Nature 2010 465:12.

Science 2010. 328:677.

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: RE: Copy of the press release originally distributed on April 26, 2010

PLoS_Genetics replied to PLoS_Genetics on 28 May 2010 at 13:12 GMT

This article has also been selected as one of the most important papers by the Faculty of 1000 Biology.

Faculty of 1000 Biology: evaluations for Thorpe RS et al PLoS Genet 2010
6 (4) :e1000929 http://f1000biology.com/a...

No competing interests declared.