Models and analyses of chromosome evolution
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At the core of evolutionary biology stands the study of divergence between populations and the formation of new species. This dissertation applies a diverse array of theoretical and statistical approaches to study how chromosomes evolve. In the first chapter, I build models that predict the amount of neutral genetic variation in chromosomal inversions involved in local adaptation, providing a foundation for future studies on the role of these rearrangements in population divergence. In the second chapter, I use a large dataset of the geographic variation in frequency of a chromosomal inversion to infer natural selection and non-random mating, revealing that this inversion could be implicated in strong reproductive isolation between subpopulations of a single species. In the third chapter, I use coalescent models for recombining sex chromosomes coupled with approximate Bayesian computation to estimate the recombination rate between X and Y chromosomes in European tree frogs. This novel approach allows me to infer a rate so low that would have been hard to detect with empirical methods. In the fourth chapter, I study the theoretical conditions that favor the evolution of a chromosome fusion that reduces recombination between locally adapted alleles.