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Evolution. 2003 Nov;57(11):2557-65.

Divergent environments and population bottlenecks fail to generate premating isolation in Drosophila pseudoobscura.

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Department of Zoology and Centre for Biodiversity Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


While the feasibility of bottleneck-induced speciation is in doubt, population bottlenecks may still affect the speciation process by interacting with divergent selection. To explore this possibility, I conducted a laboratory speciation experiment using Drosophila pseudoobscura involving 78 replicate populations assigned in a two-way factorial design to both bottleneck (present vs. absent) and environment (ancestral vs. novel) treatments. Populations independently evolved under these treatments and were then tested for assortative mating and male mating success against their common ancestor. Bottlenecks alone did not generate any premating isolation, despite an experimental design that was conducive to bottleneck-induced speciation. Premating isolation also did not evolve in the novel environment treatment, neither in the presence nor absence of bottlenecks. However, male mating success was significantly reduced in the novel environment treatment, both as a plastic response to this environment and as a result of environment-dependent inbreeding effects in the bottlenecked populations. Reduced mating success of derived males will hamper speciation by enhancing the mating success of immigrant, ancestral males. Novel environments are generally thought to promote ecological speciation by generating divergent natural selection. In the current experiment, however, the novel environment did not cause the evolution of any premating isolation and it reduced the likelihood of speciation through its effects on male mating success.

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