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Evolution. 2004 Aug;58(8):1856-60.

A test of the chromosomal rearrangement model of speciation in Drosophila pseudoobscura.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Life Sciences Bldg, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA.


Recent studies suggest that chromosomal rearrangements play a significant role in speciation by preventing recombination and maintaining species persistence despite interspecies gene flow. Factors conferring adaptation or reproductive isolation are maintained in rearranged regions in the face of hybridization, while such factors are eliminated from collinear regions. As a direct test of this rearrangement model, we evaluated the genetic basis of hybrid male sterility in a sympatric species pair, Drosophila pseudoobscura pseudoobscura and D. persimilis, and an allopatric species pair, D. pseudoobscura bogotana and D. persimilis. Our results are consistent with the proposed model: virtually all of the sterility factors in the former pair are associated with three inverted regions, whereas sterility factors are present in the collinear regions in the latter pair. These findings indicate recombination and selection may have eliminated sterility factors outside the inverted regions between D. p. pseudoobscura and D. persimilis, suggesting chromosomal rearrangements may facilitate species persistence despite hybridization.

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