Biodiv Sci ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 88-96.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.13143

Special Issue: 基因组和生物多样性 物种形成与系统进化

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review on studies of speciation in the presence of gene flow: evolution of reproductive isolation

Zhonghu Li1,2,*(), Zhanlin Liu2, Mali Wang2, Zengqiang Qian3, Peng Zhao2, Juan Zhu2, Yixin Yang2, Xiaohao Yan2, Yinjun Li2, Guifang Zhao2,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Protection and Utilization of Biological Resources in Tarim Basin, Xinjiang Production & Construction Corps, Alaer, Xinjiang 843300
    2. Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China, Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Northwest University, Xi’an 710069
    3. College of Life Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119
  • Received:2013-06-22 Accepted:2014-01-22 Online:2014-01-20 Published:2014-02-10
  • Contact: Li Zhonghu,Zhao Guifang


Speciation has long been a core issue in evolutionary biology and is of fundamental importance to the formation of biodiversity. The traditional view of allopatric speciation holds that geographic isolation is a major driver of speciation and that species divergence only occurs in circumstances where there is geographic isolation between populations. In recent years, with the development of population genomics and the advance of coalescent-based analytical methods, speciation with gene flow has become a topic of major interest in the field of evolutionary biology research. Does gene flow occur during the process of speciation? How does it affect species divergence? What are the reproductive isolation underlying the speciation in the presence of gene flow? All these questions are foci of attention in current speciation research. In this paper, we review the distribution patterns of temporal and spatial gene flow, and elucidate the effects of gene flow on speciation and the evolution of reproductive isolation. We conclude that speciation with gene flow could be common in nature.

Key words: gene flow, speciation, reproductive isolation, natural selection, divergent selection