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      The spindle assembly checkpoint and speciation

      1 , , 2

      PeerJ

      PeerJ Inc.

      Speciation, Spindle assembly checkpoint, Mathematical model, Evolution

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          Abstract

          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 At this point the reproductive disadvantage of the rearranged karyotype disappears, and a single population has been replaced by two populations that are partially reproductively isolated.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.

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          Most cited references 27

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          The spindle-assembly checkpoint in space and time.

          In eukaryotes, the spindle-assembly checkpoint (SAC) is a ubiquitous safety device that ensures the fidelity of chromosome segregation in mitosis. The SAC prevents chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy, and its dysfunction is implicated in tumorigenesis. Recent molecular analyses have begun to shed light on the complex interaction of the checkpoint proteins with kinetochores--structures that mediate the binding of spindle microtubules to chromosomes in mitosis. These studies are finally starting to reveal the mechanisms of checkpoint activation and silencing during mitotic progression.
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            Sympatric speciation in palms on an oceanic island.

            The origin of species diversity has challenged biologists for over two centuries. Allopatric speciation, the divergence of species resulting from geographical isolation, is well documented. However, sympatric speciation, divergence without geographical isolation, is highly controversial. Claims of sympatric speciation must demonstrate species sympatry, sister relationships, reproductive isolation, and that an earlier allopatric phase is highly unlikely. Here we provide clear support for sympatric speciation in a case study of two species of palm (Arecaceae) on an oceanic island. A large dated phylogenetic tree shows that the two species of Howea, endemic to the remote Lord Howe Island, are sister taxa and diverged from each other well after the island was formed 6.9 million years ago. During fieldwork, we found a substantial disjunction in flowering time that is correlated with soil preference. In addition, a genome scan indicates that few genetic loci are more divergent between the two species than expected under neutrality, a finding consistent with models of sympatric speciation involving disruptive/divergent selection. This case study of sympatric speciation in plants provides an opportunity for refining theoretical models on the origin of species, and new impetus for exploring putative plant and animal examples on oceanic islands.
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              Speciation with gene flow could be common.

               Patrik Nosil (2008)
              The likelihood of speciation in the face of homogenizing gene flow (i.e. without complete geographical isolation) is one of the most debated topics in evolutionary biology. Demonstrating this phenonemon is hampered by the difficulty of isolating the effects of time since population divergence vs. gene flow on levels of molecular genetic differentiation. For example, weak genetic differentiation between taxa could be due to recent divergence, gene flow, or a combination of these factors. Nonetheless, a number of convincing examples of speciation with gene flow have recently emerged, owing in part to the development of new analytical methods designed to estimate gene flow specifically. A recent example of speciation with gene flow in salamanders (Niemiller et al. 2008) further advances our understanding of this phenonemon, by showing that gene flow between cave and spring salamanders was ongoing during speciation, rather than having occurred after a long period of allopatric divergence. Future work on the ecological and genetic factors reducing gene flow will likely increase our understanding of the conditions that faciliate divergence in the face of gene flow.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                peerj
                peerj
                PeerJ
                PeerJ Inc. (San Diego, USA )
                2167-8359
                11 May 2020
                2020
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Pharmacometrics Ltd. , Cambridge, United Kingdom
                [2 ]Division of Pharmacy, University of Manchester , Manchester, United Kingdom
                Article
                9073
                10.7717/peerj.9073
                7224227
                ©2020 Jackson and Mistry

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                Funding
                The authors received no funding for this work.
                Categories
                Evolutionary Studies
                Mathematical Biology

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