Hybrid origin of the Pliocene ancestor of wild goats


Ropiquet, A. and Hassanin, A. 2006. Hybrid origin of the Pliocene ancestor of wild goats. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 41 (2), pp. 395-404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.033
TitleHybrid origin of the Pliocene ancestor of wild goats
AuthorsRopiquet, A. and Hassanin, A.

Recent theories on speciation suggest that interspecific hybridization is an important mechanism for explaining adaptive radiation. According to this view, hybridization can promote the rapid transfer of adaptations between different species; the hybrid population thus invades new habitats and diversifies into a variety of new species. Although hybridization is well accepted as a fairly common mechanism for diversification in plants, its role in the evolution of animals is more controversial, because reduced fitness would typically condemn animal hybrids to an evolutionary dead-end. Here, we examine DNA sequences of four mitochondrial and four nuclear genes selected for resolving phylogenetic relationships between goats, sheep, and their allies. Our analyses provide evidence of strong discordance for the position of Capra between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies. We suggest that the common ancestor of wild goats arose from interspecific hybridization, and that the mitochondrial genome of a species better adapted to life at high altitudes was transferred via this route into the common ancestor of Capra. We propose that the acquisition of more efficient mitochondria has conferred a selective advantage on goats, allowing their rapid adaptive radiation during the Plio–Pleistocene epoch. Our study therefore agrees with theories that predict an important role for interspecific hybridization in the evolution and diversification of animal species.

Research GroupMolecular Biology group
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Publication dates
Print01 Nov 2006
Online03 Jun 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited28 Apr 2015
Accepted19 May 2006
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.033
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