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Keywords:

  • post-zygotic isolation;
  • prezygotic isolation;
  • secondary contact;
  • specialization;
  • sympatric speciation;
  • tempo of speciation;
  • time course of speciation

Abstract

Generally, stronger reproductive isolation is expected between sympatric than between allopatric sibling species. Such reproductive character displacement should predominantly affect premating reproductive isolation and can be due to several mechanisms, including population extinction, fusion of insufficiently isolated incipient species and reinforcement of reproductive isolation in response to low hybrid fitness. Experimental data on several taxa have confirmed these theoretical expectations on reproductive character displacement, but they are restricted to animals and a few plants. Using results reported in the literature on crossing experiments in fungi, we compared the degree and the nature of reproductive isolation between allopatric and sympatric species pairs. In accordance with theoretical expectations, we found a pattern of enhanced premating isolation among sympatric sibling species in Homobasidiomycota. By contrast, we did not find evidence for reproductive character displacement in Ascomycota at similar genetic distances. Both allopatric and sympatric species of Ascomycota had similarly low levels of reproductive isolation, being mostly post-zygotic. This suggests that some phylogeny-dependent life-history trait may strongly influence the evolution of reproductive isolation between closely related species. A significant correlation was found between degree of reproductive isolation and genetic divergence among allopatric species of Homobasidiomycota, but not among sympatric ones or among Ascomycota species.