Postmating-prezygotic (PMPZ) reproductive isolation is hypothesized to result from divergent coevolutionary trajectories of sexual selection and/or sexual conflict in isolated populations. However, the genetic basis of PMPZ incompatibilities between species is poorly understood. Here, we use a comparative framework to compare global gene expression in con- and heterospecifically mated Drosophila mojavensis and D. arizonae female reproductive tracts. We find striking divergence between the species in the female postmating transcriptional response to conspecific mating, including differences in differential expression (DE), alternative splicing (AS), and intron retention (IR). As predicted, heterospecific matings produce disrupted transcriptional profiles, but the overall patterns of misregulation are different between the reciprocal crosses. Moreover, we find a positive correlation between postmating transcriptional divergence between species and levels of transcriptional disruption in heterospecific crosses. This result indicates that mating responsive genes that have diverged more in expression also have more disrupted transcriptional profiles in heterospecifically mated females. Overall, our results provide insights into the evolution of PMPZ isolation and lay the foundation for future studies aimed at identifying specific genes involved in PMPZ incompatibilities and the evolutionary forces that have contributed to their divergence in closely related species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)