Hybrid zones are a main focal point of my work on newts. The genomes of distinct populations are brought together in the genetically admixed offspring that are produced in a hybrid zone. This means that any evolved incompatibility between the genomes, hampering cooperation inside a single organism, are exposed in the hybrid zone. Hence, hybrid zones provide crucial insight into the genetic barriers that underlie the origin of species. In a new ‘quick guide’ published in Current Biology I introduce hybrid zones. Follow this link for temporary free access.
A hybrid zone between the two crested newt species: Triturus ivanbureschi in the west (yellow) and T. anatolicus in the east (blue). The graph depicts the proportion of alleles diagnostic for the eastern species from east to west. A value of 0 corresponds to the western species and a value of 1 to the eastern species. Intermediate frequencies are observed in the hybrid zone (in green on the map). (As usual, thanks to Michael Fahrbach for use of his pictures.)
Reference: Wielstra, B. (2021). Hybrid zones. Current Biology 31(3): PR108-R109.