Population Genomics in Wild Tomatoes-The Interplay of Divergence and Admixture

Genome Biol Evol. 2017 Nov 1;9(11):3023-3038. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evx224.


Hybridization between closely related plant species is widespread, but the outcomes of hybridization are not fully understood. This study investigates phylogenetic relationships and the history of hybridization in the wild tomato clade (Solanum sect. Lycopersicon). We sequenced RNA from individuals of 38 different populations and, by combining this with published data, build a comprehensive genomic data set for the entire clade. The data indicate that many taxa are not monophyletic and many individuals are admixed due to repeated hybridization. The most polymorphic species, Solanum peruvianum, has two genetic and geographical subpopulations, while its sister species, Solanum chilense, has distinct coastal populations and reduced heterozygosity indicating a recent expansion south following speciation from S. peruvianum circa 1.25 Ma. Discontinuous populations west of 72° are currently described as S. chilense, but are genetically intermediate between S. chilense and S. peruvianum. Based upon molecular, morphological, and crossing data, we test the hypothesis that these discontinuous "S. chilense" populations are an example of recombinational speciation. Recombinational speciation is rarely reported, and we discuss the difficulties in identifying it and differentiating between alternative demographic scenarios. This discovery presents a new opportunity to understand the genomic outcomes of hybridization in plants.

Keywords: Lycopersicon; gene flow; hybridization; population genetics; speciation.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Flow
  • Genetic Speciation
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Metagenomics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Genetic* / physiology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Solanum lycopersicum / classification
  • Solanum lycopersicum / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger