Evidence for contrasting modes of selection at interacting globin genes in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

R. Campos, J. F. Storz, N. Ferrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In hybrid zones between genetically differentiated populations, variation in locus-specific rates of introgression may reflect adaptation to different environments or adaptation to different genetic backgrounds. The European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, is well-suited to studies of such hybrid zone dynamics because it is composed of two genetically divergent subspecies that hybridize in a zone of secondary contact in central Iberia. A species-wide survey of allozyme variation revealed a broad range of locus-specific divergence levels (FST ranged from 0 to 0.54, mean FST=0.16). Interestingly, the two loci that fell at opposite ends of the distribution of FST values, haemoglobin α-chain (HBA) and haemoglobin β-chain (HBB), encode interacting subunits of the haemoglobin protein. The contrasting patterns of spatial variation at these two loci could not be reconciled under a neutral model of population structure. The HBA gene exhibited higher-than-expected levels of population differentiation, consistent with a history of spatially varying selection. The HBB gene exhibited lower-than-expected levels of population differentiation, consistent with some form of spatially uniform selection. Patterns of linkage disequilibrium and allele frequency variation do not appear to fit any simple model of two-locus epistatic selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-609
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 23 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Allozyme
  • Coalescent
  • HBA and HBB
  • Population structure
  • Selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for contrasting modes of selection at interacting globin genes in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this