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Keywords:

  • Cytoplasmic effect;
  • dominance;
  • epistasis;
  • genotype-by-environment interaction;
  • hybrid breakdown;
  • hybrid vigor;
  • maternal effect;
  • speciation

We used joint-scaling analyses in conjunction with rearing temperature variation to investigate the contributions of additive, non-additive, and environmental effects to genetic divergence and incipient speciation among 12 populations of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, with small levels of pairwise nuclear genetic divergence (0.033 < Nei's D < 0.125). For 15 population pairs we created a full spectrum of line crosses (two parental, two reciprocal F1's, four F2's, and eight backcrosses), reared them at multiple temperatures, and analyzed the numbers and developmental defects of offspring. We assayed a total of 219,388 offspring from 5147 families. Failed crosses occurred predominately in F2's, giving evidence of F2 breakdown within this species. In all cases where a significant model could be fit to the data on offspring number, we observed at least one type of digenic epistasis. We also found maternal and cytoplasmic effects to be common components of divergence among T. castaneum populations. In some cases, the most complex model tested (additive, dominance, epistatic, maternal, and cytoplasmic effects) did not provide a significant fit to the data, suggesting that linkage or higher order epistasis is involved in differentiation between some populations. For the limb deformity data, we observed significant genotype-by-environment interaction in most crosses and pure parent crosses tended to have fewer deformities than hybrid crosses. Complexity of genetic architecture was not correlated with either geographic distance or genetic distance. Our results support the view that genetic incompatibilities responsible for postzygotic isolation, an important component of speciation, may be a natural but serendipitous consequence of nonadditive genetic effects and structured populations.