Speciation and the breakdown of co-evolution during hybridisation (2009–2011)
Just as hosts and parasites evolve in step with each other, genes within the cell are also known to coevolve. Because populations can become geographically isolated and mutation is random, the coevolution of genes may take different evolutionary paths. Populations whose genes coevolve independently may become incompatible and incapable of interbreeding. We will test how novel nuclear and cytoplasmic genetic combinations in hybrids affect heredity, gene expression, and how coevolved genes affect hybrid fitness. This project will provide significant and innovative insights into the maintenance of boundaries between existing species.