Effects of Inversions on Within- and Between-Species Recombination and Divergence
There is increasing evidence that chromosomal inversions may facilitate the formation or persistence of new species by allowing genetic factors conferring species-specific adaptations or reproductive isolation to be inherited together and by reducing or eliminating introgression. However, the genomic domain of influence of the inverted regions on introgression has not been carefully studied. Here, we present a detailed study on the consequences that distance from inversion breakpoints has had on the inferred level of gene flow and divergence between Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis. We identified the locations of the inversion breakpoints distinguishing D. pseudoobscura and D. persimilis in chromosomes 2, XR, and XL. Population genetic data were collected at specific distances from the inversion breakpoints of the second chromosome and at two loci inside the XR and XL inverted regions. For loci outside the inverted regions, we found that distance from the nearest inversion breakpoint had a significant effect on several measures of divergence and gene flow between D. pseudoobscura and D. persimilis. The data fitted a logarithmic relationship, showing that the suppression of crossovers in inversion heterozygotes also extends to loci located outside the inversion but close to it (within 1-2 Mb). Further, we detected a significant reduction in nucleotide variation inside the inverted second chromosome region of D. persimilis and near one breakpoint, consistent with a scenario in which this inversion arose and was fixed in this species by natural selection.