Document Type


Publication Date



According to measures of molecular divergence, the three species of the Drosophila simulans clade are closely related to and essentially equidistant from each other. We introgressed 10% of the D. sechellia X chromosome into a pure D. simulans genetic background and found that males carrying this introgressed region were consistently fertile; in contrast, males carrying the same segment from D. mauritiana are sterile and suffer from incompatibilities at a minimum of four loci. Together with other recent results, these data suggest that D. simulans and D. sechellia are much more closely related to each other than either is to D. mauritiana. How can we reconcile the phylogeny inferred from the density of hybrid sterility genes with that inferred from molecular divergence? If the molecular phylogeny is correct, the discrepancy might be explained by uneven rates of functional evolution, resulting in the uneven accumulation of substitutions with corresponding negative effects in hybrids. If the functional phylogeny is correct, then low levels of gene flow across nascent species boundaries, particularly for loci not tightly linked to a hybrid sterility gene, may have erased the original pattern of lineage splitting. We propose tests that will allow us to discriminate between the hypotheses.