Ecological novelty by hybridization: experimental evidence for increased thermal tolerance by transgressive segregation in Tigriopus californicus

Evolution. 2014 Jan;68(1):204-15. doi: 10.1111/evo.12254. Epub 2013 Sep 12.


Early generations of hybrids can express both genetic incompatibilities and phenotypic novelty. Insights into whether these conflicting interactions between intrinsic and extrinsic selection persist after a few generations of recombination require experimental studies. To address this question, we use interpopulation crosses and recombinant inbred lines (RILs) of the copepod Tigriopus californicus, and focus on two traits that are relevant for the diversification of this species: survivorship during development and tolerance to thermal stress. Experimental crosses between two population pairs show that most RILs between two heat-tolerant populations show enhanced tolerance to temperatures that are lethal to the respective parentals, whereas RILs between a heat-tolerant and a heat-sensitive population are intermediate. Although interpopulation crosses are affected by intrinsic selection at early generational hybrids, most of the sampled F9 RILs have recovered fitness to the level of their parentals. Together, these results suggest that a few generations of recombination allows for an independent segregation of the genes underlying thermal tolerance and cytonuclear incompatibilities, permitting certain recombinant lineages to survive in niches previously unused by parental taxa (i.e., warmer thermal environments) without incurring intrinsic selection.

Keywords: Adaptation; hybridization; reproductive isolation; speciation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Crustacea / genetics*
  • Crustacea / growth & development
  • Genetic Speciation*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Hybridization, Genetic*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Reproductive Isolation
  • Selection, Genetic