The genetics of speciation by reinforcement.
Reinforcement occurs when natural selection strengthens behavioral discrimination to prevent costly interspecies matings, such as when matings produce sterile hybrids. This evolutionary process can complete speciation, thereby providing a direct link between Darwin's theory of natural selection and the origin of new species. Here, by examining a case of speciation by reinforcement in Drosophila,we present the first high-resolution genetic study of variation within species for female mating discrimination that is enhanced by natural selection. We show that reinforced mating discrimination is inherited as a dominant trait, exhibits variability within species, and may be influenced by a known set of candidate genes involved in olfaction. Our results show that the genetics of reinforced mating discrimination is different from the genetics of mating discrimination between species, suggesting that overall mating discrimination might be a composite phenomenon, which in Drosophila could involve both auditory and olfactory cues. Examining the genetics of reinforcement provides a unique opportunity for both understanding the origin of new species in the face of gene flow and identifying the genetic basis of adaptive female species preferences, two major gaps in our understanding of speciation.
Ortiz-Barrientos, D; Counterman, BA; Noor, MAF
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