PerspectiveEvolution

The road to speciation runs both ways

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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 414-415
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaj2007

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Summary

Some species, such as the giraffe or bottlenose dolphin, are immediately recognizable and might seem immutable. In fact, their evolutionary stories are often more complicated. Regional populations of giraffe with distinct pelage patterns have only recently been recognized as four different species (1), and the number of species represented by what we recognize as the bottlenose dolphin was historically as many as 20, refined down to one, then two, and the question is still being resolved (2). On page 477 of this issue, de Manuel et al. (3) describe the relationship between two other iconic species in unprecedented detail, comparing whole genomes from populations of bonobo (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). They report evidence for gene flow between these species, contributing to our increasing appreciation for the complexities of the process of speciation.