Making a Murderer: The Evolutionary Framing of Hybrid Gamete-Killers

Andrea L. Sweigart, Yaniv Brandvain, Lila Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Recent molecular investigations of hybrid incompatibilities have revealed fascinating patterns of genetic interactions that have been interpreted as the remnants of a history of selfish evolution. Instead of framing hybrid incompatibilities in light of genetic conflict, we advocate assuming their innocence. Researchers must build a strong theory for each case, supported by population genetic evidence, such that the role of conflict in the evolution of a hybrid incompatibility can be proven beyond reasonable doubt. This will require careful investigation of the evolutionary history of these incompatibilities, a reckoning of how the reproductive biology of study organisms impacts on the likelihood of genetic conflict, and molecular evidence of the rapid selfish spread of these alleles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • epistasis
  • gamete-killers
  • hybrid incompatibilities
  • selfish evolution


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