Ecological divergence and the origins of intrinsic postmating isolation with gene flow

  • Agrawal A
  • Feder J
  • Nosil P
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Abstract

The evolution of intrinsic postmating isolation has received much attention, both historically and in recent studies of speciation genes. Intrinsic isolation often stems frombetween-locus genetic incompatibilities, where alleles that function well within species are incompatible with one another when brought together in the genome of a hybrid. It can be difficult for such incompatibilities to originatewhen populations divergewith gene flow, because deleterious genotypic combinationswill be created and then purged by selection. However, it has been argued that if genes underlying incompatibilities are themselves subject to divergent selection, then theymight overcome gene flowto diverge between populations, resulting in the origin of incompatibilities.Nonetheless, there has been little explicit mathematical exploration of such scenarios for the origin of intrinsic incompatibilities during ecological speciation with gene flow. Here we explore theoreticalmodels for the origin of intrinsic isolation where genes subject to divergent natural selection also affect intrinsic isolation, either directly or via linkage disequilibrium with other loci. Such genes indeed overcome gene flow, diverge between populations, and thus result in the evolution of intrinsic isolation.We also examine barriers to neutral gene flow. Surprisingly, we find that intrinsic isolation sometimes weakens this barrier, by impeding differentiation via ecologically based divergent selection.

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Authors

  • Aneil F. Agrawal

  • Jeffrey L. Feder

  • Patrik Nosil

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