Chromatin evolution and molecular drive in speciation

Int J Evol Biol. 2012;2012:301894. doi: 10.1155/2012/301894. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


Are there biological generalities that underlie hybrid sterility or inviability? Recently, around a dozen "speciation genes" have been identified mainly in Drosophila, and the biological functions of these genes are revealing molecular generalities. Major cases of hybrid sterility and inviability seem to result from chromatin evolution and molecular drive in speciation. Repetitive satellite DNAs within heterochromatin, especially at centromeres, evolve rapidly through molecular drive mechanisms (both meiotic and centromeric). Chromatin-binding proteins, therefore, must also evolve rapidly to maintain binding capability. As a result, chromatin binding proteins may not be able to interact with chromosomes from another species in a hybrid, causing hybrid sterility and inviability.