A mechanism is proposed by which speciation may occur without the need to postulate geographical isolation of the diverging populations. Closely related species that occupy overlapping or adjacent ecological niches often have an almost identical genome but differ by chromosomal rearrangements that result in reproductive isolation. The mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint normally functions to prevent gametes with non-identical karyotypes from forming viable zygotes. Unless gametes from two individuals happen to undergo the same chromosomal rearrangement at the same place and time, a most improbable situation, there has been no satisfactory explanation of how such rearrangements can propagate. Consideration of the dynamics of the spindle assembly checkpoint suggest that chromosomal fission or fusion events may occur that allow formation of viable heterozygotes between the rearranged and parental karyotypes, albeit with decreased fertility. Evolutionary dynamics calculations suggest that if the resulting heterozygous organisms have a selective advantage in an adjoining or overlapping ecological niche from that of the parental strain, despite the reproductive disadvantage of the population carrying the altered karyotype, it may accumulate sufficiently that homozygotes begin to emerge. At this point the reproductive disadvantage of the rearranged karyotype disappears, and a single population has been replaced by two populations that are partially reproductively isolated. This definition of species as populations that differ from other, closely related, species by karyotypic changes is consistent with the classical definition of a species as a population that is capable of interbreeding to produce fertile progeny. Even modest degrees of reproductive impairment of heterozygotes between two related populations may lead to speciation by this mechanism, and geographical isolation is not necessary for the process.