Whether chromosomal rearrangements promote speciation by providing barriers to gene exchange between populations is one of the long-standing debates in evolutionary biology. This question can be addressed by studying patterns of gene flow and selection in hybrid zones between chromosomally diverse taxa. Here we present results of the first study of the genetic structure of a hybrid zone between chromosomal races of morabine grasshoppers Vandiemenella viatica, P24(XY) and viatica17, on Kangaroo Island, Australia. Chromosomal and 11 nuclear markers revealed a narrow hybrid zone with strong linkage disequilibrium and heterozygote deficits, most likely maintained by a balance between dispersal and selection. Widths and positions of clines for these markers are concordant and coincident, suggesting that selection is unlikely to be concentrated on a few chromosomes. In contrast, a mitochondrial marker showed a significantly wider cline with centre offset toward the P24(XY) side. We argue that the discordance between the mitochondrial and nuclear/chromosomal clines and overall asymmetry of the clines suggest a secondary origin of the contact zone and potential movement of the zone after contact. Genome-wide scans using many genetic markers and chromosomal mapping of these markers are needed to investigate whether chromosomal differences directly reduce gene flow after secondary contact.
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Vol. 63 • No. 1