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Data from: Introgressive hybridization and natural selection in Darwin's finches


Grant, Peter R.; Grant, B. Rosemary (2015), Data from: Introgressive hybridization and natural selection in Darwin's finches, Dryad, Dataset,


Introgressive hybridization, i.e. hybridization with backcrossing, can lead to the fusion of two species, but it can also lead to evolution of a new trajectory through an enhancement of genetic variation in a new or changed ecological environment. On Daphne Major Island in the Galápagos archipelago, ~1–2% of Geospiza fortis finches breed with the resident G. scandens and with the rare immigrant species G. fuliginosa in each breeding season. Previous research has demonstrated morphological convergence of G. fortis and G. scandens over a 30-year period as a result of bidirectional introgression. Here we examine the role of hybridization with G. fuliginosa in the evolutionary trajectory of G. fortis. Geospiza fuliginosa (~12 g) is smaller and has a more pointed beak than G. fortis (~17 g). Genetic variation of the G. fortis population was increased by receiving genes more frequently from G. fuliginosa than from G. scandens (~21 g). A severe drought in 2003–2005 resulted in heavy and selective mortality of G. fortis with large beaks, and they became almost indistinguishable morphologically from G. fuliginosa. This was followed by continuing hybridization, a further decrease in beak size and a potential morphological fusion of the two species under entirely natural conditions.

Usage Notes


Galápagos islands