Speciation in birds: genes, geography and sexual selection


Edwards SV, Kingan SB, Calkins JD, Balakrishnan CN, Jennings BW, Swanson WJ, Sorenson MD. Speciation in birds: genes, geography and sexual selection. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) [Internet]. 2005;102 :6550-6557.


Molecular studies of speciation in birds over the last three decades
have been dominated by a focus on the geography, ecology, and
timing of speciation, a tradition traceable to Mayr’s
and the Origin of Species
. However, in the recent years, interest in
the behavioral and molecular mechanisms of speciation in birds has
increased, building in part on the older traditions and observations
from domesticated species. The result is that many of the same
mechanisms proffered for model lineages such as
mechanisms such as genetic incompatibilities, reinforcement, and
sexual selection—are now being seriously entertained for birds,
albeit with much lower resolution. The recent completion of a draft
sequence of the chicken genome, and an abundance of single-
nucleotide polymorphisms on the autosomes and sex chromo-
somes, will dramatically accelerate research on the molecular
mechanisms of avian speciation over the next few years. The
challenge for ornithologists is now to inform well studied exam-
ples of speciation in nature with increased molecular resolu-
tion—to clone speciation genes if they exist—and thereby evaluate
the relative roles of extrinsic, intrinsic, deterministic, and stochastic
causes for avian diversification.

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Last updated on 12/05/2016