Physical linkage and mate preference generate linkage disequilibrium for behavioral isolation in two parapatric crickets

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Thomas BlankersFrieder Mayer


Behavioral isolation is a potent barrier to gene flow and a source of striking diversity in the animal kingdom. However, it remains unclear if the linkage disequilibrium (LD) between sex-specific traits required for behavioral isolation results mostly from physical linkage between signal and preference loci or from directional mate preferences. Here, we test this in the field crickets Gryllus rubens and G. texensis . These closely related species diverged with gene flow and have strongly diverged songs and preference functions for the mate calling song rhythm. We map quantitative trait loci for signal and preference traits (pQTL) as well as for gene expression associated with these traits (eQTL). We find strong, positive genetic covariance between song traits and between song and preference. Our results show that this is in part explained by incomplete physical linkage: although both linked pQTL and eQTL couple male and female traits, major effect loci for different traits were never on the same chromosome. We suggest that the finely-tuned, highly divergent preference functions are likely an additional source of LD between male and female traits in this system. Furthermore, pleiotropy of gene expression presents an underappreci...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Gene Expression
Isolation Aspects
Quantitative Trait Loci
Genetic Loci
Gryllus rubens
Gene Flow
Carex texensis

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