Reproductive isolation in Saccharomyces

Heredity (Edinb). 2009 Jan;102(1):39-44. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2008.73. Epub 2008 Jul 23.


Although speciation is one of the most interesting processes in evolution, the underlying causes of reproductive isolation are only partially understood in a few species. This review summarizes the results of many experiments on the reproductive isolation between yeast species of the Saccharomyces sensu stricto group. Hybrids between these species form quite readily in the laboratory, but, if given a choice of species to mate with, some are able to avoid hybridization. F1 hybrids are viable but sterile: the gametes they produce are inviable. For one pair of species, hybrid sterility is probably caused by chromosomal rearrangements, but for all the other species, the major cause of hybrid sterility is antirecombination-the inability of diverged chromosomes to form crossovers during F1 hybrid meiosis. Surprisingly, incompatibility between the genes expressed from different species' genomes is not a major cause of F1 hybrid sterility, although it may contribute to reproductive isolation at other stages of the yeast life cycle.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromosomes, Fungal / genetics
  • Genetic Speciation*
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Reproduction
  • Saccharomyces / cytology
  • Saccharomyces / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces / physiology