Rapid Evolution of Reproductive Isolation in the Wild: Evidence from Introduced Salmon

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Science  20 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5491, pp. 516-518
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5491.516

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Colonization of new environments should promote rapid speciation as a by-product of adaptation to divergent selective regimes. Although this process of ecological speciation is known to have occurred over millennia or centuries, nothing is known about how quickly reproductive isolation actually evolves when new environments are first colonized. Using DNA microsatellites, population-specific natural tags, and phenotypic variation, we tested for reproductive isolation between two adjacent salmon populations of a common ancestry that colonized divergent reproductive environments (a river and a lake beach). We found evidence for the evolution of reproductive isolation after fewer than 13 generations.

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