Cytonuclear genetic structure of a hybrid zone in lizards of the Sceloporus grammicus complex (Sauria, Phrynosomatidae)

Mol Ecol. 1996 Jun;5(3):379-92.


Lizards of the Sceloporus grammicus complex are comprised of multiple chromosome races that form several zones of parapatric hybridization in central Mexico. We scored diagnostic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes and autosomal chromosome markers in a sample of 342 lizards from one well-defined zone between 2n = 34 and 2n = 46 races. A two-part analysis was performed on this data set in an attempt to infer the predominant evolutionary forces shaping the cytonuclear structure of this zone. The complications posed by its spatial structure were addressed by analysing a hierarchical series of smaller subsamples chosen to approximate single mating units. Two critical conclusions were drawn from this first-stage analysis. First and foremost, the three chromosomes have largely concordant cytonuclear disequilibrium patterns within each subsample with adequate numbers of individuals for detecting nonrandom cytonuclear associations. This suggests that the cytonuclear structure of this zone is predominantly a result of deterministic genome-wide forces rather than genetic drift of deterministic forces specific to individual chromosomes or loci. Second, the fit of a series of migration models to the data shows that the cytonuclear structure of the subsamples is well accounted for by continued gene flow from the two parental races alone, with random mating with respect to cytonuclear genotype and no other evolutionary forces. These results motivate several further empirical and theoretical investigations to refine our understanding of the relative roles of migration and other potentially important forces such as natural selection and genetic drift, in this and other hybrid zones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / chemistry
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Demography
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Heterozygote
  • Karyotyping
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Lizards / genetics*
  • Mexico
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Probability
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Selection, Genetic


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Genetic Markers