Populations that maintain phenotypic divergence in sympatry typically show a mosaic pattern of genomic divergence, requiring a corresponding mosaic of genomic isolation (reduced gene flow). However, mechanisms that could produce the genomic isolation required for divergence-with-gene-flow have barely been explored, apart from the traditional localized effects of selection and reduced recombination near centromeres or inversions. By localizing FST outliers from a genome scan of wild pea aphid host races on a Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) map of key traits, we test the hypothesis that between-population recombination and gene exchange are reduced over large ‘divergence hitchhiking’ (DH) regions. As expected under divergence hitchhiking, our map confirms that QTL and divergent markers cluster together in multiple large genomic regions. Under divergence hitchhiking, the nonoutlier markers within these regions should show signs of reduced gene exchange relative to nonoutlier markers in genomic regions where ongoing gene flow is expected. We use this predicted difference among nonoutliers to perform a critical test of divergence hitchhiking. Results show that nonoutlier markers within clusters of FST outliers and QTL resolve the genetic population structure of the two host races nearly as well as the outliers themselves, while nonoutliers outside DH regions reveal no population structure, as expected if they experience more gene flow. These results provide clear evidence for divergence hitchhiking, a mechanism that may dramatically facilitate the process of speciation-with-gene-flow. They also show the power of integrating genome scans with genetic analyses of the phenotypic traits involved in local adaptation and population divergence.
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