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Elife. 2018 Dec 13;7. pii: e35468. doi: 10.7554/eLife.35468.

Gene flow mediates the role of sex chromosome meiotic drive during complex speciation.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, United States.
Department of Biology, University of Rochester, New York, United States.
Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Virginia, United States.


During speciation, sex chromosomes often accumulate interspecific genetic incompatibilities faster than the rest of the genome. The drive theory posits that sex chromosomes are susceptible to recurrent bouts of meiotic drive and suppression, causing the evolutionary build-up of divergent cryptic sex-linked drive systems and, incidentally, genetic incompatibilities. To assess the role of drive during speciation, we combine high-resolution genetic mapping of X-linked hybrid male sterility with population genomics analyses of divergence and recent gene flow between the fruitfly species, Drosophila mauritiana and D. simulans. Our findings reveal a high density of genetic incompatibilities and a corresponding dearth of gene flow on the X chromosome. Surprisingly, we find that a known drive element recently migrated between species and, rather than contributing to interspecific divergence, caused a strong reduction in local sequence divergence, undermining the evolution of hybrid sterility. Gene flow can therefore mediate the effects of selfish genetic elements during speciation.


Drosophila mauritiana; Drosophila simulans; evolutionary biology; genetics; genomics; speciation

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