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J Evol Biol. 2006 Sep;19(5):1691-700.

Microsatellite variation among diverging populations of Drosophila mojavensis.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Divergence and speciation may occur by various means, depending on the particular history, selective environments, and genetic composition of populations. In Drosophila mojavensis, a good model of incipient speciation, understanding the population genetic structure within this group facilitates our ability to understand the context in which reproductive isolation among populations is developing. Here we report the genetic structure and relationships of D. mojavensis populations at nuclear loci. We surveyed 29 populations throughout the distribution of D. mojavensis for four microsatellite loci to differentiation among populations of this species. These loci reveal four distinct geographical regions of D. mojavensis populations in the south-western United States and north-western Mexico--(i) Baja California peninsula (Baja), (ii) Sonora, Mexico-southern Arizona, United States (Sonora), (iii) Mojave Desert and Grand Canyon (Mojave), and (iv) Santa Catalina Island (Catalina). While all regions show strong isolation, Mojave and Catalina are highly diverged from other regions. Within any region, populations are largely homogenous over broad geographical distances. Based on the population structure, we find clear geographical barriers to gene flow appear to have a strong effect in isolating populations across regions for this species.

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