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Genetics. Mar 2004; 166(3): 1303–1311.
PMCID: PMC1470780

Do quantitative trait loci (QTL) for a courtship song difference between Drosophila simulans and D. sechellia coincide with candidate genes and intraspecific QTL?


The genetic architecture of traits influencing sexual isolation can give insight into the evolution of reproductive isolation and hence speciation. Here we report a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis of the difference in mean interpulse interval (IPI), an important component of the male courtship song, between Drosophila simulans and D. sechellia. Using a backcross analysis, we find six QTL that explain a total of 40.7% of the phenotypic variance. Three candidate genes are located in the intervals bounded by two of the QTL and there are no significant QTL on the X chromosome. The values of mean IPI for hybrid individuals imply the presence of dominant alleles or epistasis. Because unisexual hybrid sterility prevents an F(2) analysis, we cannot distinguish dominant from additive genetic effects at the scale of QTL. A comparison with a study of QTL for intraspecific variation in D. melanogaster shows that, for these strains, the QTL we have identified for interspecific variation cannot be those that contribute to intraspecific variation. We find that the QTL have bidirectional effects, which indicates that the genetic architecture is compatible with divergence due to genetic drift, although other possibilities are discussed.

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Selected References

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