Maternal effect and speciation: maternal effect contributes to the evolution of hybrid inviability between Drosophila simulans and Drosophila mauritiana
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Haldane's rule has been the basis of speciation research during the last 30 years. Most studies have focused on the nature of incompatibilities in the hybrid male, but not much attention has been given to the genetic basis of fertility and inviability in hybrid females. Hybridizations between Drosophila simulans and Drosophila mauritiana produce fertile females and sterile males. Here, we re-examined the level of fertility in reciprocal F1 females of these two species and looked for the presence of maternal effects. Our results show that the reciprocal F1 females of D. simulans and D. mauritiana hybridizations are fully fertile and in fact show a significant level of heterosis in the rate of oviposition but display reduced egg hatching in one direction. Reduced egg hatching was observed in the progenies of F1 hybrid females with D. mauritiana as mother, the same cross that showed a stronger negative effect on F1 male fertility. A review of the literature on the hybridizations in Lepidoptera also showed a maternal effect on inviability when reciprocal crosses produced asymmetric results. Our findings point to the importance of maternal effects in the evolution of embryo inviability and thus enhancing the process of speciation through the evolution of hybrid inviability.
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