Major ecological transitions in wild sunflowers facilitated by hybridization

Loren H. Rieseberg, Olivier Raymond, David M. Rosenthal, Zhao Lai, Kevin Livingstone, Takuya Nakazato, Jennifer L. Durphy, Andrea E. Schwarzbach, Lisa A. Donovan, Christian Lexer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

922 Scopus citations


Hybridization is frequent in many organismal groups, but its role in adaptation is poorly understood. In sunflowers, species found in the most extreme habitats are ancient hybrids, and new gene combinations generated by hybridization are speculated to have contributed to ecological divergence. This possibility was tested through phenotypic and genomic comparisons of ancient and synthetic hybrids. Most trait differences in ancient hybrids could be recreated by complementary gene action in synthetic hybrids and were favored by selection. The same combinations of parental chromosomal segments required to generate extreme phenotypes in synthetic hybrids also occurred in ancient hybrids. Thus, hybridization facilitated ecological divergence in sunflowers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1216
Number of pages6
Issue number5637
StatePublished - Aug 29 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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