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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2004 Dec;14(6):675-9.

Speciation genes.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Until recently, the genes that cause reproductive isolation remained black boxes. Consequently, evolutionary biologists were unable to answer several questions about the identities and characteristics of "speciation genes". Over the past few years, however, evolutionary geneticists have finally succeeded in isolating several such genes, providing our first glimpse at factors that are thought to be representative of those underlying the origin of species. Evolutionary analysis of these genes suggests that speciation results from positive Darwinian selection within species. Molecular evolutionary study of the genes causing reproductive isolation may represent an important new phase in the study of speciation.

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