Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of procbThe Royal Society PublishingProceedings BAboutBrowse by SubjectAlertsFree Trial
Proc Biol Sci. 1998 August 22; 265(1405): 1483–1489.
PMCID: PMC1689320

Rapid parapatric speciation on holey adaptive landscapes.


A classical view of speciation is that reproductive isolation arises as a by-product of genetic divergence. Here, individual-based simulations are used to evaluate whether the mechanisms implied by this view may result in rapid speciation if the only source of genetic divergence are mutation and random genetic drift. Distinctive features of the simulations are the consideration of the complete process of speciation (from initiation until completion), and of a large number of loci, which was only one order of magnitude smaller than that of bacteria. It is demonstrated that rapid speciation on the time-scale of hundreds of generations is plausible without the need for extreme founder events, complete geographic isolation, the existence of distinct adaptive peaks or selection for local adaptation. The plausibility of speciation is enhanced by population subdivision. Simultaneous emergence of more than two new species from a subdivided population is highly probable. Numerical examples relevant to the theory of centrifugal speciation and to the conjectures about the fate of 'ring species' and 'sexual continuums' are presented.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (369K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Blattner FR, Plunkett G, 3rd, Bloch CA, Perna NT, Burland V, Riley M, Collado-Vides J, Glasner JD, Rode CK, Mayhew GF, et al. The complete genome sequence of Escherichia coli K-12. Science. 1997 Sep 5;277(5331):1453–1462. [PubMed]
  • Coyne JA. Genetics and speciation. Nature. 1992 Feb 6;355(6360):511–515. [PubMed]
  • Coyne JA, Orr HA. The evolutionary genetics of speciation. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1998 Feb 28;353(1366):287–305. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gaston KJ. Species-range size distributions: products of speciation, extinction and transformation. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1998 Feb 28;353(1366):219–230. [PMC free article]
  • Gavrilets S, Gravner J. Percolation on the fitness hypercube and the evolution of reproductive isolation. J Theor Biol. 1997 Jan 7;184(1):51–64. [PubMed]
  • Higgs PG, Derrida B. Genetic distance and species formation in evolving populations. J Mol Evol. 1992 Nov;35(5):454–465. [PubMed]
  • Johnson TC, Scholz CA, Talbot MR, Kelts K, Ricketts RD, Ngobi G, Beuning K, Ssemmanda I, I, McGill JW. Late Pleistocene Desiccation of Lake Victoria and Rapid Evolution of Cichlid Fishes. Science. 1996 Aug 23;273(5278):1091–1093. [PubMed]
  • Kimura M, Weiss GH. The Stepping Stone Model of Population Structure and the Decrease of Genetic Correlation with Distance. Genetics. 1964 Apr;49(4):561–576. [PubMed]
  • Li WH. Distribution of nucleotide differences between two randomly chosen cistrons in a subdivided population: the finite island model. Theor Popul Biol. 1976 Dec;10(3):303–308. [PubMed]
  • Nei M, Maruyama T, Wu CI. Models of evolution of reproductive isolation. Genetics. 1983 Mar;103(3):557–579. [PubMed]
  • Noest AJ. Instability of the sexual continuum. Proc Biol Sci. 1997 Sep 22;264(1386):1389–1393. [PMC free article]
  • Orr HA. The population genetics of speciation: the evolution of hybrid incompatibilities. Genetics. 1995 Apr;139(4):1805–1813. [PubMed]
  • Reidys C, Stadler PF, Schuster P. Generic properties of combinatory maps: neutral networks of RNA secondary structures. Bull Math Biol. 1997 Mar;59(2):339–397. [PubMed]
  • Slatkin M. The average number of sites separating DNA sequences drawn from a subdivided population. Theor Popul Biol. 1987 Aug;32(1):42–49. [PubMed]
  • Strobeck C. Average number of nucleotide differences in a sample from a single subpopulation: a test for population subdivision. Genetics. 1987 Sep;117(1):149–153. [PubMed]
  • Wake DB. Incipient species formation in salamanders of the Ensatina complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jul 22;94(15):7761–7767. [PubMed]
  • Wagner A, Wagner GP, Similion P. Epistasis can facilitate the evolution of reproductive isolation by peak shifts: a two-locus two-allele model. Genetics. 1994 Oct;138(2):533–545. [PubMed]
  • Watterson GA. On the number of segregating sites in genetical models without recombination. Theor Popul Biol. 1975 Apr;7(2):256–276. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society