The Rate of Evolution of Postmating-Prezygotic Reproductive Isolation inDrosophila

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Abstract

Reproductive isolation is an intrinsic aspect of species formation. For that reason, the identification of the precise isolating traits, and the rates at which they evolve, is crucial to understanding how species originate and persist. Previous work has measured the rates of evolution of prezygotic and postzygotic barriers to gene flow, yet no systematic analysis has studied the rates of evolution of postmating-prezygotic (PMPZ) barriers. We measured the magnitude of two barriers to gene flow that act after mating occurs but before fertilization. We also measured the magnitude of a premating barrier (female mating rate in nonchoice experiments) and two postzygotic barriers (hybrid inviability and hybrid sterility) for all pairwise crosses of all nine known extant species within themelanogastersubgroup. Our results indicate that PMPZ isolation evolves faster than hybrid inviability but slower than premating isolation. Next, we partition postzygotic isolation into different components and find that, as expected, hybrid sterility evolves faster than hybrid inviability. These results lend support for the hypothesis that, inDrosophila, reproductive isolation mechanisms (RIMs) that act early in reproduction (or in development) tend to evolve faster than those that act later in the reproductive cycle. Finally, we tested whether there was evidence for reinforcing selection at any RIM. We found no evidence for generalized evolution of reproductive isolation via reinforcement which indicates that there is no pervasive evidence of this evolutionary process. Our results indicate that PMPZ RIMs might have important evolutionary consequences in initiating speciation and in the persistence of new species.

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