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Keywords:

  • Genetic architecture;
  • hybrid fitness;
  • introgression;
  • QTL mapping;
  • speciation;
  • postzygotic isolation

Negative epistasis in hybrid genomes commonly results in postzygotic isolation between divergent lineages. However, some genomic regions may be selectively neutral or adaptive in hybrids and thus may potentially cross species barriers. We examined postzygotic isolation between ecologically similar species of Louisiana Iris: Iris brevicaulis and I. fulva to determine the potential for adaptive introgression in nature. Line-cross analyses allowed us a general overview of the gene action responsible for fitness-related traits. We then used a QTL mapping approach to detect genomic regions responsible for variation in these traits. Although hybrid classes suffered reduced fitness for many traits, hybrid means were equivalent to at least one of the parental species in overall estimates of maternal and paternal fitness during the two years of the field study. The genetic architecture underlying the fitness-related traits varied across field site and year of the study, thus emphasizing the importance of the environment in determining the degree of postzygotic isolation and potential for introgression across natural hybrid zones.