Logo of geneticsGeneticsCurrent IssueInformation for AuthorsEditorial BoardSubscribeSubmit a Manuscript
Genetics. 1997 Nov; 147(3): 1169–1180.
PMCID: PMC1208241

Sex Chromosome Meiotic Drive in Stalk-Eyed Flies


Meiotically driven sex chromosomes can quickly spread to fixation and cause population extinction unless balanced by selection or suppressed by genetic modifiers. We report results of genetic analyses that demonstrate that extreme female-biased sex ratios in two sister species of stalk-eyed flies, Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni and C. whitei, are due to a meiotic drive element on the X chromosome (X(d)). Relatively high frequencies of X(d) in C. dalmanni and C. whitei (13-17% and 29%, respectively) cause female-biased sex ratios in natural populations of both species. Sex ratio distortion is associated with spermatid degeneration in male carriers of X(d). Variation in sex ratios is caused by Y-linked and autosomal factors that decrease the intensity of meiotic drive. Y-linked polymorphism for resistance to drive exists in C. dalmanni in which a resistant Y chromosome reduces the intensity and reverses the direction of meiotic drive. When paired with X(d), modifying Y chromosomes (Y(m)) cause the transmission of predominantly Y-bearing sperm, and on average, production of 63% male progeny. The absence of sex ratio distortion in closely related monomorphic outgroup species suggests that this meiotic drive system may predate the origin of C. whitei and C. dalmanni. We discuss factors likely to be involved in the persistence of these sex-linked polymorphisms and consider the impact of X(d) on the operational sex ratio and the intensity of sexual selection in these extremely sexually dimorphic flies.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (2.9M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Cabot EL, Doshi P, Wu ML, Wu CI. Population genetics of tandem repeats in centromeric heterochromatin: unequal crossing over and chromosomal divergence at the Responder locus of Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics. 1993 Oct;135(2):477–487. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • de Carvalho AB, Klaczko LB. Autosomal suppressors of sex-ratio in Drosophila mediopunctata. Heredity (Edinb) 1993 Nov;71(Pt 5):546–551. [PubMed]
  • de Carvalho AB, Klaczko LB. Y-linked suppressors of the sex-ratio trait in Drosophila mediopunctata. Heredity (Edinb) 1994 Dec;73(Pt 6):573–579. [PubMed]
  • Carvalho AB, Vaz SC, Klaczko LB. Polymorphism for Y-linked suppressors of sex-ratio in two natural populations of Drosophila mediopunctata. Genetics. 1997 Jul;146(3):891–902. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Clark AG. Natural selection and Y-linked polymorphism. Genetics. 1987 Mar;115(3):569–577. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Curtsinger JW, Feldman MW. Experimental and Theoretical Analysis of the "Sex-Ratio" Polymorphism in DROSOPHILA PSEUDOOBSCURA. Genetics. 1980 Feb;94(2):445–466. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Emlen ST, Oring LW. Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems. Science. 1977 Jul 15;197(4300):215–223. [PubMed]
  • Haig D, Grafen A. Genetic scrambling as a defence against meiotic drive. J Theor Biol. 1991 Dec 21;153(4):531–558. [PubMed]
  • Hamilton WD. Extraordinary sex ratios. A sex-ratio theory for sex linkage and inbreeding has new implications in cytogenetics and entomology. Science. 1967 Apr 28;156(3774):477–488. [PubMed]
  • Hickey WA, Craig GB., Jr Genetic distortion of sex ratio in a mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Genetics. 1966 Jun;53(6):1177–1196. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hurst LD, Pomiankowski A. Causes of sex ratio bias may account for unisexual sterility in hybrids: a new explanation of Haldane's rule and related phenomena. Genetics. 1991 Aug;128(4):841–858. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • James AC, Jaenike J. "Sex ratio" meiotic drive in Drosophila testacea. Genetics. 1990 Nov;126(3):651–656. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Matsuda M, Imai H, Tobari YN. Cytogenetic analysis of recombination in males of Drosophila ananassae. Chromosoma. 1983;88(4):286–292. [PubMed]
  • Parker GA. Why are there so many tiny sperm? Sperm competition and the maintenance of two sexes. J Theor Biol. 1982 May 21;96(2):281–294. [PubMed]
  • Pimpinelli S, Dimitri P. Cytogenetic analysis of segregation distortion in Drosophila melanogaster: the cytological organization of the Responder (Rsp) locus. Genetics. 1989 Apr;121(4):765–772. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Policansky D, Ellison J. "Sex ratio" in Drosophila pseudoobscura: spermiogenic failure. Science. 1970 Aug 28;169(3948):888–889. [PubMed]
  • Snook RR, Markow TA, Karr TL. Functional nonequivalence of sperm in Drosophila pseudoobscura. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Nov 8;91(23):11222–11226. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Stalker HD. The Genetic Systems Modifying Meiotic Drive in Drosophila Paramelanica. Genetics. 1961 Feb;46(2):177–202. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sturtevant AH, Dobzhansky T. Geographical Distribution and Cytology of "Sex Ratio" in Drosophila Pseudoobscura and Related Species. Genetics. 1936 Jul;21(4):473–490. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sweeny TL, Barr AR. Sex Ratio Distortion Caused by Meiotic Drive in a Mosquito, Culex pipiens L. Genetics. 1978 Mar;88(3):427–446. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Voelker RA. Preliminary characterization of "sex ratio" and rediscovery and reinterpretation of "male sex ratio" in Drosophila affinis. Genetics. 1972 Aug;71(4):597–606. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wu CI. The fate of autosomal modifiers of the sex-ratio trait in drosophila and other sex-linked meiotic drive systems. Theor Popul Biol. 1983 Oct;24(2):107–120. [PubMed]
  • Wu CI. Virility Deficiency and the Sex-Ratio Trait in DROSOPHILA PSEUDOOBSCURA. I. Sperm Displacement and Sexual Selection. Genetics. 1983 Nov;105(3):651–662. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wu CI, Beckenbach AT. Evidence for Extensive Genetic Differentiation between the Sex-Ratio and the Standard Arrangement of DROSOPHILA PSEUDOOBSCURA and D. PERSIMILIS and Identification of Hybrid Sterility Factors. Genetics. 1983 Sep;105(1):71–86. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wu CI, True JR, Johnson N. Fitness reduction associated with the deletion of a satellite DNA array. Nature. 1989 Sep 21;341(6239):248–251. [PubMed]

Articles from Genetics are provided here courtesy of Genetics Society of America


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...