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Int J Evol Biol. 2012;2012:593438. doi: 10.1155/2012/593438. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Noncompetitive Gametic Isolation between Sibling Species of Cricket: A Hypothesized Link between Within-Population Incompatibility and Reproductive Isolation between Species.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, Kansas State University, 123 W. Waters Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.


Postmating, prezygotic phenotypes are a common mechanism of reproductive isolation. Here, we describe the dynamics of a noncompetitive gametic isolation phenotype (namely, the ability of a male to induce a female to lay eggs) in a group of recently diverged crickets that are primarily isolated from each other by this phenotype. We not only show that heterospecific males are less able to induce females to lay eggs but that there are male by female incompatibilities in this phenotype that occur within populations. We also identify a protein in the female reproductive tract that correlates with the number of eggs that she was induced to lay. Functional genetic tests using RNAi confirm that the function of this protein is linked to egg-laying induction. Moreover, the dysfunction of this protein appears to underlie both within-population incompatibilities and between-species divergence-thus suggesting a common genetic pathway underlies both. However, this is only correlative evidence and further research is needed to assess whether or not the same mutations in the same genes underlie variation at both levels.

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