Spatial variation in natural selection may play an important role in determining the genetic structure of hybridizing populations. Previous studies have found that F1 hybrids between naturally hybridizing Ipomopsis aggregata and Ipomopsis tenuituba in central Colorado differ in fitness depending on both genotype and environment: hybrids had higher survival when I. aggregata was the maternal parent, except in the centre of the hybrid zone where both hybrid types had high survival. Here, we developed both maternally (cpDNA PCR-RFLP) and biparentally inherited (nuclear AFLP) species-diagnostic markers to characterize the spatial genetic structure of the natural Ipomopsis hybrid zone, and tested the prediction that the majority of natural hybrids have I. aggregata cytoplasm, except in areas near the centre of the hybrid zone. Analyses of 352 individuals from across the hybrid zone indicate that cytoplasmic gene flow is bidirectional, but contrary to expectation, most plants in the hybrid zone have I. tenuituba cytoplasm. This cytotype distribution is consistent with a hybrid zone in historical transition, with I. aggregata nuclear genes advancing into the contact zone. Further, nuclear data show a much more gradual cline than cpDNA markers that is consistent with morphological patterns across the hybrid populations. A mixture of environment- and pollinator-mediated selection may contribute to the current genetic structure of this hybrid system.
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