The gene arrangements of Drosophila have played a prominent role in the history of evolutionary biology from the original quantification of genetic diversity to current studies of the mechanisms for the origin and establishment of new inversion mutations within populations and their subsequent fixation between species supporting reproductive barriers. This review examines the genetic causes and consequences of inversions as recombination suppressors and the role that recombination suppression plays in establishing inversions in populations as they are involved in adaptation within heterogeneous environments. This often results in the formation of clines of gene arrangement frequencies among populations. Recombination suppression leads to the differentiation of the gene arrangements which may accelerate the accumulation of fixed genetic differences among populations. If these fixed mutations cause incompatibilities, then inversions pose important reproductive barriers between species. This review uses the evolution of inversions in Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis as a case study for how inversions originate, establish and contribute to the evolution of reproductive isolation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics