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THE GENETIC BASIS OF BEHAVIORAL ISOLATION BETWEEN DROSOPHILA MAURITIANA AND D. SECHELLIA

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Abstract

Understanding how species form is a fundamental question in evolutionary biology. Identifying the genetic bases of barriers that prevent gene flow between species provides insight into how speciation occurs. Here, I analyze a poorly understood reproductive isolating barrier, prezygotic reproductive isolation. I perform a genetic analysis of prezygotic isolation between two closely related species of Drosophila, D. mauritiana and D. sechellia. I first confirm the existence of strong behavioral isolation between D. mauritiana females and D. sechellia males. Next, I examine the genetic basis of behavioral isolation by (1) scanning an existing set of introgression lines for chromosomal regions that have a large effect on isolation; and (2) mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) that underlie behavioral isolation via backcross analysis. In particular, I map QTL that determine whether a hybrid backcross female and a D. sechellia male will mate. I identify a single significant QTL, on the X chromosome, suggesting that few major-effect loci contribute to behavioral isolation between these species. In further work, I refine the map position of the QTL to a small region of the X chromosome.

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