No evidence for faster male hybrid sterility in population crosses of an intertidal copepod (Tigriopus californicus)

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Two different forces are thought to contribute to the rapid accumulation of hybrid male sterility that has been observed in many inter-specific crosses, namely the faster male and the dominance theories. For male heterogametic taxa, both faster male and dominance would work in the same direction to cause the rapid evolution of male sterility; however, for taxa lacking differentiated sex chromosomes only the faster male theory would explain the rapid evolution of male hybrid sterility. It is currently unknown what causes the faster evolution of male sterility, but increased sexual selection on males and the sensitivity of genes involved in male reproduction are two hypotheses that could explain the observation. Here, patterns of hybrid sterility in crosses of genetically divergent copepod populations are examined to test potential mechanisms of faster male evolution. The study species, Tigriopus californicus, lacks differentiated, hemizygous sex chromosomes and appears to have low levels of divergence caused by sexual selection acting upon males. Hybrid sterility does not accumulate more rapidly in males than females in these crosses suggesting that in this taxon male reproductive genes are not inherently more prone to disruption in hybrids.

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