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Data from: Is embryo abortion a postzygotic barrier to gene flow between Littorina ecotypes?

Cite this dataset

Johannesson, Kerstin et al. (2019). Data from: Is embryo abortion a postzygotic barrier to gene flow between Littorina ecotypes? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Genetic incompatibilities contribute to reproductive isolation between many diverging populations, but it is still unclear to what extent they play a role if divergence happens with gene flow. In contact zones between the "Crab" and "Wave" ecotypes of the snail Littorina saxatilis divergent selection forms strong barriers to gene flow, while the role of postzygotic barriers due to selection against hybrids remains unclear. High embryo abortion rates in this species could indicate the presence of such barriers. Postzygotic barriers might include genetic incompatibilities (e.g. Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities) but also maladaptation, both expected to be most pronounced in contact zones. In addition, embryo abortion might reflect physiological stress on females and embryos independent of any genetic stress. We examined all embryos of >500 females sampled outside and inside contact zones of three populations in Sweden. Females' clutch size ranged from 0 to 1011 embryos (mean 130±123) and abortion rates varied between 0 and100% (mean 12%). We described female genotypes by using a hybrid index based on hundreds of SNPs differentiated between ecotypes with which we characterised female genotypes. We also calculated female SNP heterozygosity and inversion karyotype. Clutch size did not vary with female hybrid index and abortion rates were only weakly related to hybrid index in two sites but not at all in a third site. No additional variation in abortion rate was explained by female SNP heterozygosity, but increased female inversion heterozygosity added slightly to increased abortion. Our results show only weak and probably biologically insignificant postzygotic barriers contributing to ecotype divergence and the high and variable abortion rates were marginally, if at all, explained by hybrid index of females.

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Raw data_Embryo abortion and hybrid status in Littorina saxatilis