Divergence with gene flow within the recent chipmunk radiation (Tamias)

J. Sullivan, J. R. Demboski, K. C. Bell, S. Hird, B. Sarver, N. Reid, J. M. Good

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Increasing data have supported the importance of divergence with gene flow (DGF) in the generation of biological diversity. In such cases, lineage divergence occurs on a shorter timescale than does the completion of reproductive isolation. Although it is critical to explore the mechanisms driving divergence and preventing homogenization by hybridization, it is equally important to document cases of DGF in nature. Here we synthesize data that have accumulated over the last dozen or so years on DGF in the chipmunk (Tamias) radiation with new data that quantify very high rates of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) introgression among para-and sympatric species in the T. quadrivittatus group in the central and southern Rocky Mountains. These new data (188 cytochrome b sequences) bring the total number of sequences up to 1871; roughly 16% (298) of the chipmunks we have sequenced exhibit introgressed mtDNA. This includes ongoing introgression between subspecies and between both closely related and distantly related taxa. In addition, we have identified several taxa that are apparently fixed for ancient introgressions and in which there is no evidence of ongoing introgression. A recurrent observation is that these introgressions occur between ecologically and morphologically diverged, sometimes non-sister taxa that engage in well-documented niche partitioning. Thus, the chipmunk radiation in western North America represents an excellent mammalian example of speciation in the face of recurrent gene flow among lineages and where biogeography, habitat differentiation and mating systems suggest important roles for both ecological and sexual selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


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