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Polymorphism of postmating reproductive isolation within plant species

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Speciation can be viewed as the evolution of reproductive isolation between formerly interbreeding populations. Recent years have seen great advances in our understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying postmating reproductive isolation during plant speciation. Nevertheless, little is known about the early stages of species divergence and the evolution of reproductive isolation at the within species level. Direct or indirect evidence indicates that intrinsic postzygotic mechanisms are prevalent and often polymorphic among allopatric conspecific populations of plants. We review studies that report direct or indirect evidence for polymorphism of genic (i.e., gene-based) postmating reproductive isolation within species' ranges. Specifically, we focus on three genic mechanisms often held responsible for reproductive isolation between species: Bateson-Dobzhansky-Muller (BDM) incompatibilities and two widespread types of genomic conflict, transmission ratio distortion and cytonuclear interactions. We further highlight the close similarity between reported cases of outbreeding depression among conspecific populations, especially those that correspond to the intrinsic co-adaptation model, and the origin of genetic incompatibilities. This association holds great promise to help improve our understanding of the processes involved in the initial stage of speciation, and it highlights the close (and often overlooked) relationship between evolutionary and conservation biology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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