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6
Speciation in Birds: Genes, Geography, and Sexual Selection

SCOTT V. EDWARDS,*§ SARAH B. KINGAN,*§ JENNIFER D. CALKINS,§ CHRISTOPHER N. BALAKRISHNAN,§ W. BRYAN JENNINGS,*§ WILLIE J. SWANSON,§ AND MICHAEL D. SORENSON§

Molecular studies of speciation in birds over the last three decades have been dominated by a focus on the geography, ecology, and timing of speciation, a tradition traceable to Mayr’s Systematics and the Origin of Species. However, in the recent years, interest in the behavioral and molecular mechanisms of speciation in birds has increased, building in part on the older traditions and observations from domesticated species. The result is that many of the same mechanisms proffered for model lineages such as Drosophila—mechanisms such as genetic incompatibilities, reinforcement, and sexual selection—are now being seriously entertained for birds, albeit with much lower resolution. The recent completion of a draft sequence of the chicken genome, and an abundance of single nucleotide polymorphisms on the autosomes and sex chromosomes, will dramatically accelerate research on the molecular mechanisms of avian speciation over the next few years. The challenge for ornithologists is now to inform well studied examples of speciation in nature with increased molecular resolution—to clone speciation genes if they

*  

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138;

  

Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195; and

  

Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215.

§  

S.V.E., S.B.K., J.D.C., C.N.B., W.B.J., W.J.S., and M.D.S. contributed equally to this work.

 



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