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The hidden side of a major marine biogeographic boundary: a wide mosaic hybrid zone at the Atlantic–Mediterranean divide reveals the complex interaction between natural and genetic barriers in mussels

Abstract : The Almeria–Oran Front (AOF) is a recognised hotspot of genetic differentiation in the sea, with genetic discontinuities reported in more than 50 species. The AOF is a barrier to dispersal and an ecological boundary; both can determine the position of these genetic breaks. However, the maintenance of genetic differentiation is likely reinforced by genetic barriers. A general drawback of previous studies is an insufficient density of sampling sites at the transition zone, with a conspicuous lack of samples from the southern coastline. We analysed the fine-scale genetic structure in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis using a few ancestry-informative loci previously identified from genome scans. We discovered a 600-km-wide mosaic hybrid zone eastward of the AOF along the Algerian coasts. This mosaic zone provides a new twist to our understanding of the Atlantic–Mediterranean transition because it demonstrates that the two lineages can live in sympatry with ample opportunities to interbreed in a large area, but they hardly do so. This implies that some form of reproductive isolation must exist to maintain the two genetic backgrounds locally cohesive. The mosaic zone ends with an abrupt genetic shift at a barrier to dispersal in the Gulf of Bejaia, Eastern Algeria. Simulations of endogenous or exogenous selection in models that account for the geography and hydrodynamic features of the region support the hypothesis that sister hybrid zones could have been differentially trapped at two alternative barriers to dispersal and/or environmental boundaries, at Almeria in the north and Bejaia in the south. A preponderantly unidirectional north–south gene flow next to the AOF can also maintain a patch of intrinsically maintained genetic background in the south and the mosaic structure, even in the absence of local adaptation. Our results concur with the coupling hypothesis that suggests that natural barriers can explain the position of genetic breaks, while their maintenance depends on genetic barriers.
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https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-03121644
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Soumis le : mardi 26 janvier 2021 - 15:14:19
Dernière modification le : mercredi 17 novembre 2021 - 12:31:40

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Tahani El Ayari, Najoua Trigui El Menif, Bojan Hamer, Abigail Cahill, Nicolas Bierne. The hidden side of a major marine biogeographic boundary: a wide mosaic hybrid zone at the Atlantic–Mediterranean divide reveals the complex interaction between natural and genetic barriers in mussels. Heredity, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 122 (6), pp.770-784. ⟨10.1038/s41437-018-0174-y⟩. ⟨hal-03121644⟩

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