Was Heliconius timareta subsp. nov. the ancestor of H. heurippa
Speciation has typically been viewed as a branching process - indeed the whole field of phylogenetic reconstruction is based on this premise. Nonetheless, in bacteria and many plants species relationships are to some degree a network, with gene transfer and/or hybrid speciation relatively frequent. Hybrid speciation via polyploidy is well established, but homoploid hybrid speciation, without a change in chromosome number, is considered extremely rare in animals. This process has been best documented in plants such as Helianthus sunflowers, but recently, a few examples have been proposed in animals. Although the genetic basis of adaptation and reproductive isolation in plant homoploid hybrid species is fairly well understood, virtually nothing is known about the genetic basis of animal homoploid hybrid species. We would like to know the nature of the genes producing novel adaptations observed in animal hybrid species to determine whether the same or tightly linked genes are involved in maintaining their integrity as new lineages. The present proposal will investigate the genetic basis of mating preference associated with hybrid speciation and the association of this trait with genes controlling adaptive wing pattern phenotypes. We also aim to explore the extent of adaptive introgression at the genomic level in order to investigate the relative parental contributions across the genome.