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Sci Rep. 2012;2:506. doi: 10.1038/srep00506. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Genetic mechanisms preventing the fusion of ecotypes even in the face of gene flow.

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Systematics, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan. (issei@kpu.ac.jp

Abstract

Understanding the genetics behind adaptation and reproductive isolation contributes to our knowledge about how biodiversity is created and maintained. Host races of phytophagous insects are host-associated ecotypes and have been considered as candidates for ecological speciation, but very little is known about the genetic backgrounds of host adaptations. A leaf-mining moth, Acrocercops transecta, consists of Juglans- and Lyonia-associated host races. This study assesses the genetic bases of oviposition preference and larval performance using F(1), F(2) and backcross hybrids between the two host races. Segregation patterns in the hybrid generations revealed that larval performance on Juglans is dominant, but oviposition preference for Lyonia is dominant. This result indicates that genetic components introgressed from the Lyonia race are removed from the Juglans race even though hybrid larvae are viable on Juglans. Thus, simple genetic controls with contrasting dominance directions in host-adaptation traits function as barriers to prevent a fusion of host races.

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