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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Nov 7;97(23):12637-42.

Nonrandom mating in Drosophila melanogaster laboratory populations derived from closely adjacent ecologically contrasting slopes at "Evolution Canyon".

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Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel; and Institute of Biology, University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland.


Ecological differentiation of natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila simulans, and another drosophilid, Zaprionus tuberculatus, in "Evolution Canyon," Mount Carmel, Israel, is well established. The fitness complex of D. melanogaster includes oviposition temperature preferences, tolerance to high temperature, drought stress and starvation, and different longevity patterns. This remarkable differentiation has evolved despite small interslope distances (only 100-400 m), within easy dispersal distance. The differences between populations are those expected from genetic adaptation to local microclimates. How such differentiation could evolve and be maintained despite the likelihood of genetic exchange between populations is a challenging question. We hypothesized that interslope microclimatic differences caused strong differential selection for stress tolerance, accompanied by behavioral differentiation (habitat choice and reduced migration rate), reinforced by sexual isolation. Here we report highly significant mate choice by flies from different slopes of the canyon, with preference for sexual partners originating from the same slope. No preferences were found when the sexual partners belonged to different isofemale lines from the same slope.

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