Nucleotide variation in eight effectively unlinked genes was surveyed in species-wide samples of the closely related outbreeding species Arabidopsis halleri and A. lyrata ssp. petraea and in three of these genes in A. lyrata ssp. lyrata and A. thaliana. Significant genetic differentiation was observed more frequently in A. l. petraea than in A. halleri. Average estimates of nucleotide variation were highest in A. l. petraea and lowest in A. l. lyrata, reflecting differences among species in effective population size. The low level of variation in A. l. lyrata is concordant with a bottleneck effect associated with its origin. The A. halleri/A. l. petraea speciation process was studied, considering the orthologous sequences of an outgroup species (A. thaliana). The high number of ancestral mutations relative to exclusive polymorphisms detected in A. halleri and A. l. petraea, the significant results of the multilocus Fay and Wu Htests, and haplotype sharing between the species indicate introgression subsequent to speciation. Average among-population variation in A. halleri and A. l. petraea was ∼1.5- and 3-fold higher than that in the inbreeder A. thaliana. The detected reduction of variation in A. thaliana is less than that expected frorn differences in mating system alone, and therefore from selective processes related to differences in the effective recombination rate, but could be explained by differences in population structure.
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