Meiotic drive, postzygotic isolation, and the Snowball Effect

Robert L. Unckless,  bioRxiv,  2023.

As populations diverge, they accumulate incompatibilities which reduce gene flow and facilitate the formation of new species. Simple models suggest that the genes that cause Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities should accumulate at least as fast as the square of the number of substitutions between taxa, the so-called snowball effect. We show, however, that in the special but possibly common case in which hybrid sterility is due primarily to cryptic meiotic (gametic) drive, the number of genes that cause postzygotic isolation may increase nearly linearly with the number of substitutions between species.