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Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Aug 22;267(1453):1671-8.

Adaptive dynamics in diploid, sexual populations and the evolution of reproductive isolation.

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  • 1Department of Mathematics, University of Turku, Finland.


Evolutionary branching is the process whereby an initially monomorphic population evolves to a point where it undergoes disruptive selection and splits up into two phenotypically diverging lineages. We studied evolutionary branching in three models that are ecologically identical but that have different genetic systems. The first model is clonal, the second is sexual diploid with additive genetics on a single locus and the third is like the second but with an additional locus for mate choice. Evolutionary branching occurred under exactly the same ecological circumstances in all three models. After branching the evolutionary dynamics may be qualitatively different. In particular, in the diploid, sexual models there can be multiple evolutionary outcomes whereas in the corresponding clonal model there is only one. We showed that evolutionary branching favours the evolution of (partial) assortative mating and that this in turn effectively restores the results from the clonal model by rendering the alternative outcomes unreachable except for the one that also occurs in the clonal model. The evolution of assortative mating during evolutionary branching can be interpreted as the initial phase of sympatric speciation with phenotypic divergence and partial reproductive isolation.

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