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J Theor Biol. 2000 Jun 7;204(3):467-78.

Competitive speciation in quantitative genetic models.

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  • 1Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, U.K.


We study sympatric speciation due to competition in an environment with a broad distribution of resources. We assume that the trait under selection is a quantitative trait, and that mating is assortative with respect to this trait. Our model alternates selection according to Lotka-Volterra-type competition equations, with reproduction using the ideas of quantitative genetics. The recurrence relations defined by these equations are studied numerically and analytically. We find that when a population enters a new environment, with a broad distribution of unexploited food sources, the population distribution broadens under a variety of conditions, with peaks at the edge of the distribution indicating the formation of subpopulations. After a long enough time period, the population can split into several subpopulations with little gene flow between them.

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