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Review of the Application of Modern Cytogenetic Methods (FISH/GISH) to the Study of Reticulation (Polyploidy/Hybridisation)
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Genes 2010, 1(2), 193-209;

Staggered Chromosomal Hybrid Zones in the House Mouse: Relevance to Reticulate Evolution and Speciation

Department of Biology, University of York, PO Box 373, York YO10 5YW, UK
Department of Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Ondokuz Mayis, Samsun, Turkey
School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Departament de Biologia Animal, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Fondazione Edmund Mach, Centre for Research and Innovation, Environment and Natural Resources Area, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 S. Michele all’Adige (TN), Italy
Departament de Biologia Animal, de Biologia Vegetal i d’Ecologia, Facultat de Biociènces, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 May 2010 / Revised: 5 July 2010 / Accepted: 8 July 2010 / Published: 19 July 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reticulate Evolution)
Full-Text   |   PDF [308 KB, uploaded 19 July 2010]   |  


In the house mouse there are numerous chromosomal races distinguished by different combinations of metacentric chromosomes. These may come into contact with each other and with the ancestral all-acrocentric race, and form hybrid zones. The chromosomal clines that make up these hybrid zones may be coincident or separated from each other (staggered). Such staggered hybrid zones are interesting because they may include populations of individuals homozygous for a mix of features of the hybridising races. We review the characteristics of four staggered hybrid zones in the house mouse and discuss whether they are examples of primary or secondary contact and whether they represent reticulate evolution or not. However, the most important aspect of staggered hybrid zones is that the homozygous populations within the zones have the potential to expand their distributions and become new races (a process termed ‘zonal raciation’). In this way they can add to the total ‘stock’ of chromosomal races in the species concerned. Speciation is an infrequent phenomenon that may involve an unusual set of circumstances. Each one of the products of zonal raciation has the potential to become a new species and by having more races increases the chance of a speciation event. View Full-Text
Keywords: clines; Mus musculus domesticus; raciation; Robertsonian fusions; speciation clines; Mus musculus domesticus; raciation; Robertsonian fusions; speciation

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Gündüz, İ.; Pollock, C.L.; Giménez, M.D.; Förster, D.W.; White, T.A.; Sans-Fuentes, M.A.; Hauffe, H.C.; Ventura, J.; López-Fuster, M.J.; Searle, J.B. Staggered Chromosomal Hybrid Zones in the House Mouse: Relevance to Reticulate Evolution and Speciation. Genes 2010, 1, 193-209.

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