Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 301894, 9 pages
Review Article

Chromatin Evolution and Molecular Drive in Speciation

Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan

Received 14 July 2011; Accepted 5 October 2011

Academic Editor: Chau-Ti Ting

Copyright © 2012 Kyoichi Sawamura. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Are there biological generalities that underlie hybrid sterility or inviability? Recently, around a dozen “speciation genes” have been identified mainly in Drosophila, and the biological functions of these genes are revealing molecular generalities. Major cases of hybrid sterility and inviability seem to result from chromatin evolution and molecular drive in speciation. Repetitive satellite DNAs within heterochromatin, especially at centromeres, evolve rapidly through molecular drive mechanisms (both meiotic and centromeric). Chromatin-binding proteins, therefore, must also evolve rapidly to maintain binding capability. As a result, chromatin binding proteins may not be able to interact with chromosomes from another species in a hybrid, causing hybrid sterility and inviability.