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Incipient speciation by divergent adaptation and antagonistic epistasis in yeast

ABSTRACT: Understanding the conditions that promote the evolution of reproductive isolation, and thus speciation. Here we empirically test some of the key predictions of speciation theory (Coyne 2004; Kohn 2005) by experimentally evolving the initial stages of speciation in yeast. After allowing replicate populations to adapt to two divergent environments, we observed the consistent, de novo evolution of two forms of postzygotic isolation: reduced rate of mitotic reproduction and reduced efficiency of meiotic reproduction. In general, divergent selection resulted in greater reproductive isolation than parallel selection, as predicted by ecological speciation theory. Our experimental system allowed for the first controlled comparison of the relative importance of ecological and genetic mechanisms of isolation, and the novel ability to quantify the effects of antagonistic epistasis. For mitotic reproduction, hybrid inferiority was conditional upon the selective environments and was both ecological and genetic in basis. In contrast, isolation associated with meiotic reproduction was unconditional and was caused solely by genetic mechanisms. Overall, our results show that adaption to divergent environments promotes the evolution of isolation through antagonistic epistasis, providing evidence of a plausible common avenue to speciation and adaptive radiation in nature (Schluter 2000,2001: Funk 2006) Keywords: Speciation, antagonistic epistasis, divergent adaptation Overall design: We measured gene expression effects due to interaction of divergently adapted genomes in hybrid cells. Reference RNA was a mix of parental lines adapted to the different environments. Test RNA was from the hybrid. There were four independent replicates for each comparison. The goal was NOT to measure the changes in expression associated with adaptation, which would have used the progenitor as a source of reference RNA.

INSTRUMENT(S): University Health Network Yeast 6.4K Array (Y6.4K)

SUBMITTER: James B Anderson  

PROVIDER: GSE6870 | GEO | 2007-06-21



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Incipient speciation by divergent adaptation and antagonistic epistasis in yeast.

Dettman Jeremy R JR   Sirjusingh Caroline C   Kohn Linda M LM   Anderson James B JB  

Nature 20070501 7144

Establishing the conditions that promote the evolution of reproductive isolation and speciation has long been a goal in evolutionary biology. In ecological speciation, reproductive isolation between populations evolves as a by-product of divergent selection and the resulting environment-specific adaptations. The leading genetic model of reproductive isolation predicts that hybrid inferiority is caused by antagonistic epistasis between incompatible alleles at interacting loci. The fundamental lin  ...[more]

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