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Gametes and speciation: from prezygotic to postzygotic isolation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology. (Qvarnström)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2861-9721
2012 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Speciation lies at the heart of evolutionary biology and researchers have been trying to understand the mechanisms leading to the evolution of reproductive isolation since over 250 years. Premating barriers (i.e. barriers preventing heterospecific individuals to mate with each other) and extrinsic postzygotic isolation (i.e. environmental factors affecting the fitness of hybrid individuals) have been studied in many taxa. However, little is known about what is happening at the gametic level, both before heterospecific fertilization (i.e. postmating prezygotic or gametic isolation) and in hybrid individuals (i.e. intrinsic postzygotic incompatibilities). In this essay, I will give an overview of the role gametes play in the evolution of reproductive isolation. I conclude that gametes and reproductive proteins evolve quickly, under strong influence of sexual and sexually antagonistic selection. Gametes are very diverse between species and sperm competition and female cryptic choice can lead to higher fertilization success of sperm from conspecific males. In the hybrid offspring, spermatogenesis can be easily disturbed by small differences in gene expression and this leads to a greater number of genes causing hybrid sterility compared to hybrid inviability among taxa. Following Haldane’s rule, the heterogametic sex is the first to be affected by hybrid incompatibilities, but different mechanisms seem to cause inviability and sterility and taxa with heterogametic males or heterogametic females might be affected differently. I end this review by focusing on one particular model system for studying speciation: the Ficedula flycatchers. Much is known about the ecological factors affecting speciation and hybridization between pied and collared flycatchers and new molecular data give insights into the genetics of speciation, but the role of gametes has not been studied in this system. Studies on gamete divergence and hybrid gamete production in the flycatchers will allow us to get a better idea of the role of gametes in speciation in a wild organism with homogametic males.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala, 2012, Introducto. , 33 p.
, Introductory Research Essay, ISSN 1404-4919 ; 100
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-261080ISRN: UU-ZEK-IRE–100–SEOAI: diva2:849597
Available from: 2015-08-28 Created: 2015-08-28 Last updated: 2015-09-07Bibliographically approved

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