Ancient and recent introgression shape the evolutionary history of pollinator adaptation and speciation in a model monkeyflower radiation (Mimulus section Erythranthe)

Thomas C. Nelson, Angela M. Stathos, Daniel D. Vanderpool, Findley R. Finseth, Yao Wu Yuan, Lila Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Inferences about past processes of adaptation and speciation require a gene-scale and genome-wide understanding of the evolutionary history of diverging taxa. In this study, we use genome-wide capture of nuclear gene sequences, plus skimming of organellar sequences, to investigate the phylogenomics of monkeyflowers in Mimulus section Erythranthe (27 accessions from seven species). Taxa within Erythranthe, particularly the parapatric and putatively sister species M. lewisii (bee-pollinated) and M. cardinalis (hummingbird-pollinated), have been a model system for investigating the ecological genetics of speciation and adaptation for over five decades. Across >8000 nuclear loci, multiple methods resolve a predominant species tree in which M. cardinalis groups with other hummingbird-pollinated taxa (37% of gene trees), rather than being sister to M. lewisii (32% of gene trees). We independently corroborate a single evolution of hummingbird pollination syndrome in Erythranthe by demonstrating functional redundancy in genetic complementation tests of floral traits in hybrids; together, these analyses overturn a textbook case of pollination-syndrome convergence. Strong asymmetries in allele sharing (Patterson’s D-statistic and related tests) indicate that gene tree discordance reflects ancient and recent introgression rather than incomplete lineage sorting. Consistent with abundant introgression blurring the history of divergence, low-recombination and adaptation-associated regions support the new species tree, while high-recombination regions generate phylogenetic evidence for sister status for M. lewisii and M. cardinalis. Population-level sampling of core taxa also revealed two instances of chloroplast capture, with Sierran M. lewisii and Southern Californian M. parishii each carrying organelle genomes nested within respective sympatric M. cardinalis clades. A recent organellar transfer from M. cardinalis, an outcrosser where selfish cytonuclear dynamics are more likely, may account for the unexpected cytoplasmic male sterility effects of selfer M. parishii organelles in hybrids with M. lewisii. Overall, our phylogenomic results reveal extensive reticulation throughout the evolutionary history of a classic monkeyflower radiation, suggesting that natural selection (re-)assembles and maintains species-diagnostic traits and barriers in the face of gene flow. Our findings further underline the challenges, even in reproductively isolated species, in distinguishing re-use of adaptive alleles from true convergence and emphasize the value of a phylogenomic framework for reconstructing the evolutionary genetics of adaptation and speciation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009095
JournalPLoS Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 22 2021


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