Understanding the genetic architecture of traits involved in premating isolation between recently diverged lineages can provide valuable insight regarding the mode and tempo of speciation. The repeated coevolution of male courtship song and female preference across the species radiation of Laupala crickets presents an unusual opportunity to compare the genetic basis of divergence across independent evolutionary histories. Previous studies of one pair of species revealed a polygenic basis (including a significant X chromosome contribution) to quantitative differences in male song and female acoustic preference. Here, we studied interspecific crosses between two phenotypically less-diverged species that represents a phylogenetically independent occurrence of intersexual signalling evolution. We found patterns consistent with an additive polygenic basis to differentiation in both song and preference (n(E) = 5.3 and 5.1 genetic factors, respectively), and estimate a moderate contribution of the X chromosome (7.6%) of similar magnitude to that observed for Laupala species with nearly twice the phenotypic divergence. Together, these findings suggest a similar genetic architecture underlying the repeated evolution of sexual characters in this genus and provide a counterexample to prevailing theory predicting an association between early lineage divergence and sex-linked 'major genes'.
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2012 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.