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Genetics. 1991 Sep; 129(1): 177–189.
PMCID: PMC1204564

Fine Mapping of Satellite DNA Sequences along the Y Chromosome of Drosophila Melanogaster: Relationships between Satellite Sequences and Fertility Factors


The entirely heterochromatic Y chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster contains a series of simple sequence satellite DNAs which together account for about 80% of its length. Molecular cloning of the three simple sequence satellite DNAs of D. melanogaster (1.672, 1.686 and 1.705 g/ml) revealed that each satellite comprises several distinct repeat sequences. Together 11 related sequences were identified and 9 of them were shown to be located on the Y chromosome. In the present study we have finely mapped 8 of these sequences along the Y by in situ hybridization on mitotic chromosome preparations. The hybridization experiments were performed on a series of cytologically determined rearrangements involving the Y chromosome. The breakpoints of these rearrangements provided an array of landmarks along the Y which have been used to localize each sequence on the various heterochromatic blocks defined by Hoechst and N-banding techniques. The results of this analysis indicate a good correlation between the N-banded regions and 1.705 repeats and between the Hoechst-bright regions and the 1.672 repeats. However, the molecular basis for banding does not appear to depend exclusively on DNA content, since heterochromatic blocks showing identical banding patterns often contain different combinations of satellite repeats. The distribution of satellite repeats has also been analyzed with respect to the male fertility factors of the Y chromosome. Both loop-forming (kl-5, kl-3 and ks-1) and non-loop-forming (kl-2 and ks-2) fertility genes contain substantial amounts of satellite DNAs. Moreover, each fertility region is characterized by a specific combination of satellite sequences rather than by an homogeneous array of a single type of repeat. We discuss the possible functional role of these satellite sequences in the light of the available information on the Y chromosome fertility factors of D. melanogaster.

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Selected References

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