Understanding speciation depends on an accurate assessment of the reproductive barriers separating newly diverged populations. In several taxonomic groups, prezygotic barriers, especially preferences for conspecific mates, are thought to play the dominant role in speciation. However, the importance of postzygotic barriers (i.e., low fitness of hybrid offspring) may be widely underestimated. In this study, we examined how well the widely used proxy of postzygotic isolation (reproductive output of F1 hybrids) reflects the long-term fitness consequences of hybridization between two closely related species of birds. Using 40 species-specific single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, we genotyped a mixed population of collared and pied flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis and F. hypoleuca) to identify grand- and great grand-offspring from interspecific crosses to derive an accurate, multigeneration estimate of postzygotic isolation. Two independent estimates of fitness show that hybridization results in 2.4% and 2.7% of the number of descendents typical of conspecific pairing. This postzygotic isolation was considerably stronger than estimates based on F1 hybrids. Our results demonstrate that, in nature, combined selection against hybrids and backcrossed individuals may result in almost complete postzygotic isolation between two comparatively young species. If these findings are general, postzygotic barriers separating hybridizing populations may be much stronger than previously thought.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 63 • No. 7