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Evolution. 2005 Apr;59(4):849-57.

Rapid evolution of postzygotic reproductive isolation in stalk-eyed flies.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


We test the relative rates of evolution of pre- and postzygotic reproductive isolation using eight populations of the sexually dimorphic stalk-eyed flies Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni and C. whitei. Flies from these populations exhibit few morphological differences yet experience strong sexual selection on male eyestalks. To measure reproductive isolation we housed one male and three female flies from within and between these populations in replicate cages and then recorded mating behavior, sperm transfer, progeny production, and hybrid fertility. Using a phylogeny based on partial sequences of two mitochondrial genes, we found that premating isolation, postmating isolation prior to hybrid eclosion, and female hybrid sterility evolve gradually with respect to mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence. In contrast, male hybrid sterility evolves much more rapidly-at least twice as fast as any other form of reproductive isolation. Hybrid sterility, therefore, obeys Haldane's rule. Although some brood sex ratios were female biased, average brood sex ratio did not covary with genetic distance, as would be expected if hybrid inviability obeyed Haldane's rule. The likelihood that forces including sexual selection and intra- and intergenomic conflict may have contributed to these patterns is discussed.

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