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Sympatric speciation through assortativity: the role of neutral and mating trairs

Grant number: 21/04251-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): September 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Theoretical Ecology
Principal researcher:Marcus Aloizio Martinez de Aguiar
Grantee:Joao Ulises Fabián Lizárraga
Home Institution: Instituto de Física Gleb Wataghin (IFGW). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/01343-7 - ICTP South American Institute for Fundamental Research: a regional center for theoretical physics, AP.TEM


Understanding the processes that lead to the formation of species has been a widely explored topic inevolutionary biology and ecology. Several deterministic and stochastic models have been developed to study theemergence of species from a single population. One of the most simple and elegant models is that proposed byDerrida and Higgs, which presents an approach to neutral speciation in a sympatric framework. In this model,speciation relies on how individuals choose their mating partners. Thus, the core of the speciation process isa rule that constraints possible mating partners to a subset defined by a maximum genetic distance betweenthe parents. The genetic distance is computed using the entire genome of the individuals. Here we explorea variation of the model which is more consistent with natural systems. Instead of constraining the partnersto mate according to the genetic distances of their entire genomes, we propose the evaluation of only finitesegments corresponding to specificmatingtraits. This allows the partners to focus only on information thatcould be relevant to mate depending on their nature. Genes corresponding to other,neutralorecologicaltraits,however, also recombine during mating and will influence the resulting species. One of the goals of this study isto understand and quantify the distribution of both mating and neutral traits in the population Moreover, thisstudy allows us to explore the role of assortative mating for species formation and on the hybridization process.

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