Biased introgression of mitochondrial and nuclear genes: A comparison of diploid and haplodiploid systems

Manus M. Patten, Sara A. Carioscia, Catherine R. Linnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Hybridization between recently diverged species, even if infrequent, can lead to the introgression of genes from one species into another. The rates of mitochondrial and nuclear introgression often differ, with some taxa showing biases for mitochondrial introgression and others for nuclear introgression. Several hypotheses exist to explain such biases, including adaptive introgression, sex differences in dispersal rates, sex-specific prezygotic isolation and sex-specific fitness of hybrids (e.g. Haldane's rule). We derive a simple population genetic model that permits an analysis of sex-specific demographic and fitness parameters and measures the relative rates of mitochondrial and nuclear introgression between hybridizing pairs. We do this separately for diploid and haplodiploid species. For diploid taxa, we recover results consistent with previous hypotheses: an excess of one sex among the hybridizing migrants or sex-specific prezygotic isolation causes a bias for one type of marker or the other; when Haldane's rule is obeyed, we find a mitochondrial bias in XY systems and a nuclear bias in ZW systems. For haplodiploid taxa, the model reveals that owing to their unique transmission genetics, they are seemingly assured of strong mitochondrial biases in introgression rates, unlike diploid taxa, where the relative fitness of male and female hybrids can tip the bias in either direction. This heretofore overlooked aspect of hybridization in haplodiploids provides what is perhaps the most likely explanation for differential introgression of mitochondrial and nuclear markers and raises concerns about the use of mitochondrial DNA barcodes for species delimitation in these taxa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5200-5210
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • haplodiploid
  • hybridization
  • large X effect
  • speciation
  • unisexual inviability
  • unisexual sterility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Biased introgression of mitochondrial and nuclear genes: A comparison of diploid and haplodiploid systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this