Accumulating postzygotic isolation genes in parapatry: a new twist on chromosomal speciation

Evolution. 2003 Mar;57(3):447-59. doi: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2003.tb01537.x.


Chromosomal rearrangements can promote reproductive isolation by reducing recombination along a large section of the genome. We model the effects of the genetic barrier to gene flow caused by a chromosomal rearrangement on the rate of accumulation of postzygotic isolation genes in parapatry. We find that, if reproductive isolation is produced by the accumulation in parapatry of sets of alleles compatible within but incompatible across species, chromosomal rearrangements are far more likely to favor it than classical genetic barriers without chromosomal changes. New evidence of the role of chromosomal rearrangements in parapatric speciation suggests that postzygotic isolation is often due to the accumulation of such incompatibilities. The model makes testable qualitative predictions about the genetic signature of speciation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chromosomes / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutation
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Zygote / physiology*