A team of scientists from Uppsala University in Sweden have sequenced the genomes of two species of flycatchers, the European pied flycatcher and the collared flycatcher. The genome sequencing data is providing insight into how a single species can give rise to two new species.
Since the European pied flycatcher and its cousin the collared flycatcher have been studied extensively, it makes them good subjects for this investigation. The birds have nesting habits that are easy to observe (thus it is easy to measure reproductive success) and the two species are willing to build nests in birdhouses.
The findings thus far show that differences in chromosome structure that govern things such as meiosis play a greater role in species divergence than differing adaptations in individual genes.
Photo © Johan Traff / Uppsala University.