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Genetics. 2004 Jul;167(3):1265-74.

Quantitative trait loci for sexual isolation between Drosophila simulans and D. mauritiana.

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Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


Sexual isolating mechanisms that act before fertilization are often considered the most important genetic barriers leading to speciation in animals. While recent progress has been made toward understanding the genetic basis of the postzygotic isolating mechanisms of hybrid sterility and inviability, little is known about the genetic basis of prezygotic sexual isolation. Here, we map quantitative trait loci (QTL) contributing to prezygotic reproductive isolation between the sibling species Drosophila simulans and D. mauritiana. We mapped at least seven QTL affecting discrimination of D. mauritiana females against D. simulans males, three QTL affecting D. simulans male traits against which D. mauritiana females discriminate, and six QTL affecting D. mauritiana male traits against which D. simulans females discriminate. QTL affecting sexual isolation act additively, are largely different in males and females, and are not disproportionately concentrated on the X chromosome: The QTL of greatest effect are located on chromosome 3. Unlike the genetic components of postzygotic isolation, the loci for prezygotic isolation do not interact epistatically. The observation of a few QTL with moderate to large effects will facilitate positional cloning of genes underlying sexual isolation.

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