How is speciation different between diploid and haplodiploid organisms?
Inspired by our collaborators’ findings in natural populations of wood ants in Finland, where the coexistence of hybrid incompatibility and heterozygote advantage create a rugged fitness landscape, we developed mathematical models to compare the evolutionary dynamics of hybrid populations of diploid and haplodiploid organisms. We showed that the evolutionary outcomes between genetic systems are dramatically different. Our results imply a specific signature of hybrid incompatibilities in haplodiploids. This, in turn, provides an alternative hypothesis why X chromosomes in diploids may appear as hotspots of speciation genes and sexual conflict.
Link to our paper in Molecular Ecology: Conflict between heterozygote advantage and hybrid incompatibility in haplodiploids (and sex chromosomes)