Adaptive gene introgression after secondary contact

J Math Biol. 2015 Jun;70(7):1523-80. doi: 10.1007/s00285-014-0802-y. Epub 2014 Jul 4.


By hybridization and backcrossing, alleles can surmount species boundaries and be incorporated into the genome of a related species. This introgression of genes is of particular evolutionary relevance if it involves the transfer of adaptations between populations. However, any beneficial allele will typically be associated with other alien alleles that are often deleterious and hamper the introgression process. In order to describe the introgression of an adaptive allele, we set up a stochastic model with an explicit genetic makeup of linked and unlinked deleterious alleles. Based on the theory of reducible multitype branching processes, we derive a recursive expression for the establishment probability of the beneficial allele after a single hybridization event. We furthermore study the probability that slightly deleterious alleles hitchhike to fixation. The key to the analysis is a split of the process into a stochastic phase in which the advantageous alleles establishes and a deterministic phase in which it sweeps to fixation. We thereafter apply the theory to a set of biologically relevant scenarios such as introgression in the presence of many unlinked or few closely linked deleterious alleles. A comparison to computer simulations shows that the approximations work well over a large parameter range.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • Computer Simulation
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Flow
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetics, Population
  • Haplotypes
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Probability
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Stochastic Processes