The rapid evolution of reproductive proteins

Nat Rev Genet. 2002 Feb;3(2):137-44. doi: 10.1038/nrg733.


Many genes that mediate sexual reproduction, such as those involved in gamete recognition, diverge rapidly, often as a result of adaptive evolution. This widespread phenomenon might have important consequences, such as the establishment of barriers to fertilization that might lead to speciation. Sequence comparisons and functional studies are beginning to show the extent to which the rapid divergence of reproductive proteins is involved in the speciation process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Female
  • Fertilization / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Reproduction / genetics*
  • Species Specificity
  • Sperm-Ovum Interactions / genetics
  • Sperm-Ovum Interactions / physiology


  • Proteins