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Genes Genet Syst. 2014;89(3):99-108.

Regulatory divergence of X-linked genes and hybrid male sterility in mice.

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Transdisciplinary Research Integration Center, Research Organization of Information and Systems.


Postzygotic reproductive isolation is the reduction of fertility or viability in hybrids between genetically diverged populations. One example of reproductive isolation, hybrid male sterility, may be caused by genetic incompatibility between diverged genetic factors in two distinct populations. Genetic factors involved in hybrid male sterility are disproportionately located on the X chromosome. Recent studies showing the evolutionary divergence in gene regulatory networks or epigenetic effects suggest that the genetic incompatibilities occur at much broader levels than had previously been thought (e.g., incompatibility of protein-protein interactions). The latest studies suggest that evolutionary divergence of transcriptional regulation causes genetic incompatibilities in hybrid animals, and that such incompatibilities preferentially involve X-linked genes. In this review, we focus on recent progress in understanding hybrid sterility in mice, including our studies, and we discuss the evolutionary significance of regulatory divergence for speciation.

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