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Speciation by Distance in a Ring Species

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Science  21 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5708, pp. 414-416
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105201

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Abstract

Ring species, which consist of two reproductively isolated forms connected by a chain of intergrading populations, have often been described as examples of speciation despite gene flow between populations, but this has never been demonstrated. We used amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers to study gene flow in greenish warblers (Phylloscopus trochiloides). These genetic markers show distinct differences between two reproductively isolated forms but gradual change through the ring connecting these forms. These findings provide the strongest evidence yet for “speciation by force of distance” in the face of ongoing gene flow.

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