The two main objectives of the GENBAS project are:
(1) to characterize the genomic differentiation that drives the speciation process, and
(2) to verify whether/and to what extent the same genomic changes are maintaining the ‘integrity’ of the gene pools of the resulting sister species.
These aims will be investigated in the Lake Tanganyika cichlid genus Ophthalmotilapia which comprises four species that occur in shallow littoral habitats and have comparable ecological preferences. The four species have different but partially overlapping distribution ranges in Lake Tanganyika. The reproductive behaviour, taxonomy, phylogeny and hybridization of the four members within this genus are well documented. Hybridisation between sympatric species pairs occurs and seems to be unidirectional. As such, Ophthalmotilapia forms and ideal system to investigate the genetic basis of speciation.