Chromosomal rearrangements do not seem to affect the gene flow in hybrid zones between karyotypic races of the common shrew (Sorex araneus)

Evolution. 2012 Mar;66(3):882-889. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01478.x. Epub 2011 Oct 28.


Chromosomal rearrangements are proposed to promote genetic differentiation between chromosomally differentiated taxa and therefore promote speciation. Due to their remarkable karyotypic polymorphism, the shrews of the Sorex araneus group were used to investigate the impact of chromosomal rearrangements on gene flow. Five intraspecific chromosomal hybrid zones characterized by different levels of karyotypic complexity were studied using 16 microsatellites markers. We observed low levels of genetic differentiation even in the hybrid zones with the highest karyotypic complexity. No evidence of restricted gene flow between differently rearranged chromosomes was observed. Contrary to what was observed at the interspecific level, the effect of chromosomal rearrangements on gene flow was undetectable within the S. araneus species.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Flow*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hybridization, Genetic*
  • Karyotype*
  • Shrews / genetics*