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Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Jul;21(7):386-93. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

What does Drosophila genetics tell us about speciation?

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Galton Laboratory, Department of Biology, University College London, 4 Stephenson Way, London, UK, NW1 2HE.


Studies of hybrid inviability, sterility and 'speciation genes' in Drosophila have given insight into the genetic changes that result in reproductive isolation. Here, I survey some extraordinary and important advances in Drosophila speciation research. However, 'reproductive isolation' is not the same as 'speciation', and this Drosophila work has resulted in a lopsided view of speciation. In particular, Drosophila are not always well-suited to investigating ecological and other selection-driven primary causes of speciation in nature. Recent advances have made use of far less tractable, but more charismatic organisms, such as flowering plants, vertebrates and larger insects. Work with these organisms has complemented Drosophila studies of hybrid unfitness to provide a more complete understanding of speciation.

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