Evolution Canyon in Lower Nahal Oren, Mount Carmel, Israel has been identified as a location promoting sympatric speciation. Several previous studies on Drosophila melanogaster populations from the two disparate slopes of the canyon suggest that these two populations are experiencing incipient speciation. However, recent microsatellite data did not reveal the expected level of population differentiation. Given the importance of this system for studying speciation, we set out to test two predictions of the incipient speciation hypothesis—genetic differentiation and sexual isolation. We sequenced six different Acp genes from isofemale lines from the south-facing slope (11 lines) and north-facing slope (nine lines) of Evolution Canyon. We found no evidence of genetic differentiation between the two slopes (FST = −0.03). We also conducted mate choice tests, using intraslope F1 hybrids between different isofemale lines. There was no significant departure from random mating in mixtures of flies from the two slopes. Our results provide further indication that it is unlikely these two populations are experiencing incipient speciation. We discuss our results in light of the discrepancies that have been published on this enigmatic D. melanogaster system from Evolution Canyon.
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Vol. 57 • No. 12