Open Access Research article

Interpopulation hybridization results in widespread viability selection across the genome in Tigriopus californicus

Victoria L Pritchard13*, Leilani Dimond1, J Scott Harrison24, Claudia Cristina S Velázquez1, Jennifer T Zieba1, Ronald S Burton2 and Suzanne Edmands1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-0371, USA

2 Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA

3 Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 110 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-5730, USA

4 Department of Biology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia 30460-8042, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Genetics 2011, 12:54  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-54

Published: 3 June 2011



Genetic interactions within hybrids influence their overall fitness. Understanding the details of these interactions can improve our understanding of speciation. One experimental approach is to investigate deviations from Mendelian expectations (segregation distortion) in the inheritance of mapped genetic markers. In this study, we used the copepod Tigriopus californicus, a species which exhibits high genetic divergence between populations and a general pattern of reduced fitness in F2 interpopulation hybrids. Previous studies have implicated both nuclear-cytoplasmic and nuclear-nuclear interactions in causing this fitness reduction. We identified and mapped population-diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and used these to examine segregation distortion across the genome within F2 hybrids.


We generated a linkage map which included 45 newly elucidated SNPs and 8 population-diagnostic microsatellites used in previous studies. The map, the first available for the Copepoda, was estimated to cover 75% of the genome and included markers on all 12 T. californicus chromosomes. We observed little segregation distortion in newly hatched F2 hybrid larvae (fewer than 10% of markers at p < 0.05), but strikingly higher distortion in F2 hybrid adult males (45% of markers at p < 0.05). Hence, segregation distortion was primarily caused by selection against particular genetic combinations which acted between hatching and maturity. Distorted markers were not distributed randomly across the genome but clustered on particular chromosomes. In contrast to other studies in this species we found little evidence for cytonuclear coadaptation. Instead, different linkage groups exhibited markedly different patterns of distortion, which appear to have been influenced by nuclear-nuclear epistatic interactions and may also reflect genetic load carried within the parental lines.


Adult male F2 hybrids between two populations of T. californius exhibit dramatic segregation distortion across the genome. Distorted loci are clustered within specific linkage groups, and the direction of distortion differs between chromosomes. This segregation distortion is due to selection acting between hatching and adulthood.