Marques, D.A., Lucek, K., Sousa, V.C., Excoffier, L., & Seehausen, O. (2019) Admixture between old lineages facilitated contemporary ecological speciation in Lake Constance stickleback.Nature Communications, 10, 4240. DOI:10.1038/s41467-019-12182-w (IF2019 12,121; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
Ecological speciation can sometimes rapidly generate reproductively isolated populations coexisting in sympatry, but the origin of genetic variation permitting this is rarely known. We previously explored the genomics of very recent ecological speciation into lake and stream ecotypes in stickleback from Lake Constance. Here, we reconstruct the origin of alleles underlying ecological speciation by combining demographic modelling on genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms, phenotypic data and mitochondrial sequence data in the wider European biogeographical context. We find that parallel differentiation between lake and stream ecotypes across replicate lake-stream ecotones resulted from recent secondary contact and admixture between old East and West European lineages. Unexpectedly, West European alleles that introgressed across the hybrid zone at the western end of the lake, were recruited to genomic islands of differentiation between ecotypes at the eastern end of the lake. Our results highlight an overlooked outcome of secondary contact: ecological speciation facilitated by admixture variation.