Recent introgression between Taiga Bean Goose and Tundra Bean Goose results in a largely homogeneous landscape of genetic differentiation

  • Jente Ottenburghs (Creator)
  • Johanna Honka (Creator)
  • Gerhard Müskens (Creator)
  • Hans Ellegren (Creator)



Several studies have uncovered a highly heterogeneous landscape of genetic differentiation across the genomes of closely related species. Specifically, genetic differentiation is often concentrated in particular genomic regions (“islands of differentiation”) that might contain barrier loci contributing to reproductive isolation, whereas the rest of the genome is homogenized by introgression. Alternatively, linked selection can produce differentiation islands in allopatry without introgression. We explored the influence of introgression on the landscape of genetic differentiation in two hybridizing goose taxa: the Taiga Bean Goose (Anser fabalis) and the Tundra Bean Goose (A. serrirostris). Using a combination of population genomic summary statistics and demographic modelling, we reconstructed the evolutionary history of these birds and quantified the impact of introgression on the build-up and maintenance of genetic differentiation. We found evidence for a scenario of allopatric divergence (about 2.5 million years ago) followed by recent secondary contact (about 60,000 years ago). Subsequent introgression events led to high levels of gene flow, mainly from the Tundra Bean Goose into the Taiga Bean Goose. This scenario resulted in a largely undifferentiated genomic landscape (genome-wide FST = 0.033) with a few notable differentiation peaks that were scattered across chromosomes. The summary statistics indicated that some peaks might contain barrier loci while others arose in allopatry through linked selection. Finally, based on the low genetic differentiation, considerable morphological variation and incomplete reproductive isolation, we argue that the Taiga and the Tundra Bean Goose should be treated as subspecies.
Date made available11 Feb 2020
PublisherWageningen University


  • Anser fabalis
  • Anser serrirostris
  • Bean Goose
  • Genomics

Accession numbers

  • PRJEB35788
  • ERP118901

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