Picky About a Mate

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Science  20 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5491, pp. 405
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5491.405i

Direct experimental evidence that natural selection may reinforce mate recognition and help drive reproductive isolation (and ultimately speciation) in animal populations is the subject of two reports (see the Perspective by Barton). Higgie et al. (p. 519), using two species of Australian fruit fly that overlap in their geographical ranges, show that reproductive character displacement of pheromones in these natural populations of fruit flies is a consequence of natural selection on mate recognition. Hendry et al. (p. 516) report significant reproductive isolation after only 13 generations of divergent selection in sockeye salmon breeding in two very different habitats—streams and lake shores. This result indicates that divergent selection can precipitate reproductive isolation at a very early stage in an adaptive radiation and suggests that speciation might be amenable to experimental study in species with short generation times.

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