Since Darwin first noted that the process of speciation was indeed the “mystery of mysteries,” scientists have tried to develop testable models for the development of reproductive incompatibilities—the first step in the formation of a new species. Early theorists proposed that chromosome rearrangements were implicated in the process of reproductive isolation; however, the chromosomal speciation model has recently been questioned. In addition, recent data from hybrid model systems indicates that simple epistatic interactions, the Dobzhansky–Muller incompatibilities, are more complex. In fact, incompatibilities are quite broad, including interactions among heterochromatin, small RNAs, and distinct, epigenetically defined genomic regions such as the centromere. In this review, we will examine both classical and current models of chromosomal speciation and describe the “evolving” theory of genetic conflict, epigenetics, and chromosomal speciation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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