Birds of a Feather?

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Science  05 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5847, pp. 13m
DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5847.13m

When populations meet and interbreed, hybrids often experience low fitness. Natural selection against hybridization may then reinforce any tendency for assortative mating. How can traits and preferences for hybrids stay associated within each nascent species, despite recombination resulting from hybridization? S'ther et al. (p. 95; see the Perspective by Ritchie) used female hybrids and cross-fostering experiments to show that assortative mating preferences in flycatcher hybrid zones are located on the avian paternally inherited Z chromosome. Z-linked genes are also responsible for male plumage traits and reduced hybrid fitness. Because the Z chromosome does not recombine between these flycatchers, speciation may thus proceed unconstrained by recombination.

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