Gamete-recognition proteins often evolve rapidly, but it is not known if their divergence occurs within species and corresponds with the evolution of reproductive isolation, or if divergence typically accumulates between already isolated lineages. We examined the evolution of a candidate gamete-recognition protein in several sympatric and allopatric populations of Mytilus blue mussels, species that hybridize in nature. Within a single species, Mytilus galloprovincialis, we found adaptive divergence of Lysin-M7, a sperm acrosomal protein that dissolves the egg vitelline envelope during fertilization. Mytilus galloprovincialis Lysin-M7 alleles group into two distinct clades (termed G and GD), and individual alleles in these clades are separated from each other by at least three and up to eleven amino-acid substitutions. Maximum-likelihood estimates of selective pressure (dN/dS = ω) implicate selection in the divergence between M. galloprovincialis Lysin-M7 clades, and within the GD clade. Exact tests of population differentiation indicate that the relative frequency of G and GD Lysin-M7 alleles differs significantly among M. galloprovincialis populations. Compared with allopatric Mediterranean samples, Lysin-M7 alleles in the GD clade are found at elevated frequency in samples from the East Atlantic and California, areas of secondary contact and hybridization between Mytilus species, and Australia, an area of unknown species composition. Adaptive divergence between the alleles most common in allopatry and those found at elevated frequency in samples from sympatry suggests that selection pressures acting in hybridizing populations, likely following Pleistocene secondary contact with M. edulis in the East Atlantic, drove the divergence of Lysin-M7 in M. galloprovincialis.
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Vol. 61 • No. 4