Natural Selection and Parallel Speciation in Sympatric Sticklebacks

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Science  14 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5451, pp. 306-308
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5451.306

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Natural selection plays a fundamental role in most theories of speciation, but empirical evidence from the wild has been lacking. Here the post-Pleistocene radiation of threespine sticklebacks was used to infer natural selection in the origin of species. Populations of sticklebacks that evolved under different ecological conditions show strong reproductive isolation, whereas populations that evolved independently under similar ecological conditions lack isolation. Speciation has proceeded in this adaptive radiation in a repeatable fashion, ultimately as a consequence of adaptation to alternative environments.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rundle{at}

  • Present address: Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, 3041-2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.

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