The occurrence of reinforcement is compared when premating isolation is caused by the spread of a gene causing females to prefer to mate with males carrying a population-specific trait (a “preference” model) and by a gene that causes females to prefer to mate with males that share their own trait phenotype (an “assortative mating” model). Both two-island models, which have symmetric gene flow, and continent-island models, which have one-way gene flow, are explored. Reinforcement is found to occur much more easily in a two-island assortative mating model than in any of the other three models. This is due primarily to the fact that in this model the assortative mating allele will automatically become genetically associated in each population with the trait allele that is favored by natural selection on that island. In contrast, natural selection on the trait both favors and opposes the evolution of premating isolation in the two-island preference model, depending on the particular population. These results imply that species recognition in the context of mating may evolve particularly easily when it targets cues that are favored by natural selection in each population. In the continent-island models, reinforcement is found to occur more often under the preference model than the assortative mating model, thus reversing the trend from the two-island models. Patterns of population subdivision may therefore play a role in determining what types of premating isolation may evolve.
Corresponding Editor: H. A. Orr