Genomic divergence between two sister Ostrya species through linked selection and recombination

Jin Zhang, Shangzhe Zhang, Zeyu Zheng, Zhiqiang Lu*, Yongzhi Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studying the evolution of genomic divergence between lineages is a topical issue in evolutionary biology. However, the evolutionary forces that shape the heterogeneous divergence of the genomic landscape are still poorly understood. Here, two wind-pollinated sister-species (Ostrya japonica and O. chinensis) are used to explore what these potential forces might be. A total of 40 individuals from 16 populations across their main distribution areas in China were sampled for genome-wide resequencing. Population demography analyses revealed that these two sister-species diverged at 3.06-4.43 Mya. Both population contraction and increased gene flow were detected during glacial periods, suggesting secondary contact at those times. All three parameters (DXY, π, and ρ) decreased in those regions showing high levels of differentiation (FST). These findings indicate that linked selection and recombination played a key role in the genomic heterogeneous differentiation between the two Ostrya species. Genotype-environment association analyses showed that precipitation was the most important ecological factor for speciation. Such environmentally related genes and positive selection genes may have contributed to local adaptation and the maintenance of species boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9611
Number of pages13
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022


  • Gene flow
  • Genomic island
  • Ostrya
  • Resequence
  • Selection


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