The genetics of reproductive isolation: a retrospective and prospective look with comments on ground crickets

Am Nat. 2002 Mar;159 Suppl 3:S8-S21. doi: 10.1086/338369.


An intriguing aspect of the current renaissance in investigations of the genetics of reproductive isolation is that it has been dominated by studies that resemble work done in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The dominant model organism (Drosophila), research approaches, and traits of interest (sterility and inviability of hybrids) all harken back to this earlier era. Herein, we explore the factors that led to a rebirth of interest in the genetics of reproductive isolation and to the adoption of the approaches of an earlier generation of biologists. At the same time, we appeal for more intensive investigations of traits that reproductively isolate closely related species, inclusion of a greater range of organisms in studies of reproductive isolation, and focus on a broader range of questions surrounding speciation. We end with a description of ongoing quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies of conspecific sperm precedence in the ground crickets Allonemobius fasciatus and Allonemobius socius. We have found several QTL with large effects on variance in patterns of sperm utilization in backcross females. Moreover, some QTL have an antagonistic effect on conspecific sperm, a finding that lends support to the hypothesis that rapid evolution of conspecific sperm precedence is a by-product of sexual conflict.