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Widespread mito-nuclear discordance with evidence for introgressive hybridization and selective sweeps in Lycaeides


Zachariah Gompert, Fax: (307) 766-2851; E-mail:


We investigated the extent and potential cause(s) of mitochondrial introgression within the polytypic North American Lycaeides species complex (Lepidoptera). By comparing population genetic structure based on mitochondrial DNA (COI and COII) and nuclear DNA (251 polymorphic amplified fragment length polymorphism markers), we detected substantial mito-nuclear discordance, primarily involving a single mitochondrial haplotype (h01), which is likely due to mitochondrial introgression between differentiated Lycaeides populations and/or species. We detected reduced mitochondrial genetic diversity relative to nuclear genetic diversity in populations where mitochondrial haplotype h01 occurs, suggesting that the spread of this haplotype was facilitated by selection. We found no evidence that haplotype h01 is associated with increased fitness (in terms of survival to eclosion, fresh adult weight, and adult longevity) in a polymorphic Lycaeides melissa population. However, we did find a positive association between mitochondrial haplotype h01 and infection by the endoparasitic bacterium Wolbachia in one out of three lineages tested. Linkage disequilibrium between mitochondrial haplotype h01 and Wolbachia infection status may have resulted in indirect selection favouring the spread of haplotype h01 in at least one lineage of North American Lycaeides. These results illustrate the potential for introgressive hybridization to produce substantial mito-nuclear discordance and demonstrate that an individual's mitochondrial and nuclear genome may have strikingly different evolutionary histories resulting from non-neutral processes and intrinsic differences in the inheritance and biology of these genomes.