Dr Varvara Fazalova

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow

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Email: varvara.fazalova@zoo.ox.ac.uk
Address: None available

I combined mating experiment, analysis of whole-genome resequencing data, and numerical modelling to understand evolution of reproductive isolation in the pea aphid complex.

Mating experiment and analysis of DNA sequencing data suggest that reproductive isolation between distantly related pea aphid host races is largely affected by intrinsic post-mating pre-zygotic reproductive isolation, which is accompanied by strong genomic divergence, especially on the sex chromosome. Re-examination of the age of the pea aphid radiation by estimating genome-wide divergence and by estimating spontaneous mutation rate for pea aphids shows that pea aphids diversified about 500 thousand years ago (contrary to previous estimates of about 10 thousand years ago). This ancient pea aphid radiation suggests that host race formation may have been influenced by geographic isolation during Pleistocene climatic oscillations. The genomic patterns of divergence thus cannot be interpreted under the scenario of rapid speciation with gene flow, due to likely contribution of allopatric isolation to diversification of the pea aphids.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie grant agreement no. 659847.

Selected publications:

Fazalova V., Nevado B., McLean A., Godfray HCJ. (2018) Intrinsic pre-zygotic reproductive isolation of distantly related pea aphid host races, Biology Letters 14: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0332

Fazalova V., Nevado, B. Low spontaneous mutation rate and Pleistocene radiation of pea aphids (in preparation)

Fazalova et al. Divergence and gene flow in pea aphid complex (in preparation)