Hybridization and introgression are very important processes that increase the genetic variability in natural populations through genetic recombination, promoting evolution and speciation. Melocactus concinnus is a geographically widespread endemic species in the Brazilian states of Bahia and Minas Gerais, occurring in sympatry with several Melocactus species at the region of Morro do Chapéu (Diamantina Plateau, Bahia, Brazil). Morphological observations suggest that M. concinnus populations from Morro do Chapéu appear to hybridize with other Melocactus species, resulting in occasional F1 hybrids in some areas and in hybrid swarms in others. This research will investigate the genetic architecture, and the level of introgression in this putative hybrid zone involving Melocactus species throughout genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). We will also use the SNP data set to search for genomic regions under selection, which could be contributing to the maintenance of species barriers and divergent selection.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: