Special Seminar: Quantifying genetic architectures of early forms of reproductive isolation during speciation: results and initiatives in stickleback and electric fish
Speciation is key to biological diversification but remains poorly understood genetically. Before the genomic revolution, most research on speciation genetics used laboratory strains of Drosophila and focused on hybrid incompatibilities arising rather late in the speciation process. Today’s technology enables patterns of genomic divergence to be investigated between natural populations of almost any species. Nevertheless, there are important limitations on our ability to study the genetics of earlier acting forms of reproductive isolation. For example, few natural systems are currently well suited for fully investigating the genetics of speciation by socio-sexual selection, and until recently, an approach had not been developed for mapping component traits of environment-dependent reproductive isolation at the center of ecological speciation. In my talk I will describe genetic insights that my collaborators and I achieved when we developed such an approach and applied it to threespine sticklebacks. I will also show how my work on the evolution of electric communication in mormyrid fish developed one mormyrid group into an ideal model for profitably investigating the genetics of speciation by socio-sexual selection.
Host: Professor Dan Rabosky