Passer Sparrows: On the role of hybridisation in evolution - the case of Eurasian Passer sparrows

About the project

We propose to address three urgent challenges in evolutionary biology:

1) How does hybridization affect genome evolution?

2) How does reproductive isolation evolve between a homoploid hybrid lineage and the parental populations?

3) What are the consequences of hybridization for adaptation and diversification?

Using Passer sparrow species as the model system and a unique combination of state-of-the-art technology in genomics and morphometrics, we will address the first challenge by reconstructing the evolutionary history of genome evolution in a homoploid hybrid speciation event. We will investigate whether hybridization occurred independently in different locations and if so, whether recombination and selection have fused the parental genomes in similar or differing ways. This can reveal to what extent genome evolution following hybridization depends on historic contingency, or on deterministic and predictable evolution.

The second challenge will be addressed by investigating how reproductive isolation has evolved between the hybrid species and its parents. Using cline analysis of candidate genetic incompatibilities we will investigate to what extent the reproductive barriers that isolate the hybrid species differ from those that isolate the parents. This can reveal to what extent transgression in phenotype and/or genome organization is a prerequisite for the development of reproductive isolation in the face of gene flow.

The third challenge will be addressed by investigating how hybrid speciation alters the response to selection at the genomic and phenotypic level and to what extent the historic
course of genome stabilization can lead to the development of genetic incompatibilities between populations within the hybrid species. In short, the proposed project will result in novel understanding on the modularity of the genome, on the processes of adaptation and speciation and on the question of how biodiversity is organized.



This Project is funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN)

RCN Project Number: 240557 (Project data bank at RCN)

UiO Project Number: 144080


01.03.2015 - 30.04.2021


  • Ravinet, Mark; Elgvin, Tore Oldeide; Trier, Cassandra Nicole; Aliabadian, Mansour; Gavrilov, Andrey & Sætre, Glenn-Peter (2018). Signatures of human-commensalism in the house sparrow genome. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. ISSN 0962-8452. 285(1884), p. 1–10. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.1246. Full text in Research Archive
  • Sætre, Glenn-Peter; Cuevas Pulido, Angelica Maria; Hermansen, Jo Skeie; Elgvin, Tore Oldeide; Fernández, Laura Piñeiro & Sæther, Stein Are [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2017). Rapid polygenic response to secondary contact in a hybrid species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. ISSN 0962-8452. 284(1853). doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0365.
  • Elgvin, Tore Oldeide; Trier, Cassandra Nicole; Tørresen, Ole Kristian; Hagen, Ingerid; Lien, Sigbjørn & Nederbragt, Alexander Johan [Show all 9 contributors for this article] (2017). The genomic mosaicism of hybrid speciation. Science Advances. ISSN 2375-2548. 3, p. 1–16. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1602996. Full text in Research Archive
  • Sætre, Camilla Lo Cascio; Coleiro, Charles; Austad, Martin; Gauci, Mark; Sætre, Glenn-Peter & Voje, Kjetil L. [Show all 7 contributors for this article] (2017). Rapid adaptive phenotypic change following colonization of a newly restored habitat. Nature Communications. ISSN 2041-1723. 8(14159), p. 1–6. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14159. Full text in Research Archive

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Published Jan. 15, 2021 10:55 AM - Last modified Feb. 2, 2021 10:26 AM