• Helianthus;
  • hybrid species;
  • lnRH;
  • microsatellites;
  • parallel evolution;
  • selective sweep


The evolution of different populations within a species in response to selective pressures can potentially happen in three different ways. It can occur in parallel, where similar changes occur independently in each population in response to selection; in concert, where the spread of an adaptive mutation across a species’ range results in a single allele fixing in each population; or populations can diverge in response to local selective pressures. We explored these possibilities in populations of the homoploid hybrid species Helianthus deserticola relative to its parental species Helianthus annuus and Helianthus petiolaris using an analysis of variation in 96 expressed sequence tag-based microsatellites. A total of nine loci showed evidence consistent with recent selection at either the species or population level, although two of these genes were discarded because the apparent sweep did not occur relative to the parent from which the locus was derived. Between one and five loci showed a putative sweep across the entire species range with the same microsatellite allele fixed in each population. This pattern is consistent with evolution in concert despite geographical isolation and potential independent origins of the populations. Only one population of H. deserticola showed candidate sweeps that were unique compared to the rest of the species, and this population has also potentially experienced recent admixture with the parental species.