Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Ecol Evol. 2011 Aug;26(8):389-97. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.04.005. Epub 2011 May 17.

Magic traits in speciation: 'magic' but not rare?

Author information

Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Speciation with gene flow is greatly facilitated when traits subject to divergent selection also contribute to non-random mating. Such traits have been called 'magic traits', which could be interpreted to imply that they are rare, special, or unrealistic. Here, we question this assumption by illustrating that magic traits can be produced by a variety of mechanisms, including ones in which reproductive isolation arises as an automatic by-product of adaptive divergence. We also draw upon the theoretical literature to explore whether magic traits have a unique role in speciation or can be mimicked in their effects by physically linked trait-complexes. We conclude that magic traits are more frequent than previously perceived, but further work is needed to clarify their importance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center