UCL Division of Biosciences


Full-Likelihood Genomic Analysis Clarifies a Complex History of Species Divergence & Introgression

1 June 2022


By accounting for phasing and using full-likelihood methods, introgression histories and population parameters can be estimated reliably from whole-genome sequence data. We employ the multispecies coalescent (MSC) model with and without gene flow to infer the species phylogeny and cross-species introgression events using genomic data from six members of the erato-sara clade of Heliconius butterflies. 

We confirm ancestral gene flow between the sara clade and an ancestral population of Heliconius telesiphe, a likely hybrid speciation origin for Heliconius hecalesia, and gene flow between the sister species Heliconius erato and Heliconius himera

This study illustrates how a full-likelihood approach based on the MSC makes it possible to extract rich historical information of species divergence and gene flow from genomic data.