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Genetics. 1992 Nov;132(3):713-23.

Dynamics of cytoplasmic incompatibility and mtDNA variation in natural Drosophila simulans populations.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of California, Davis 95616.


In Drosophila simulans a cytoplasmically transmitted microorganism causes reduced egg hatch when infected males mate with uninfected females. The infection is rapidly spreading northward in California. Data on a specific mtDNA restriction site length polymorphism show that changes in the frequency of mtDNA variants are associated with this spread. All infected flies possess the same mtDNA allele, whereas the uninfected flies are polymorphic. Given that both paternal inheritance of the infection and imperfect maternal transmission have been demonstrated, one might expect instead that both infected and uninfected flies would possess both mtDNA variants. Our data suggest that imperfect female transmission of the infection (and/or the loss of the infection among progeny) is more common in nature than paternal transmission. A simple model of intrapopulation dynamics, with empirically supported parameter values, adequately describes the joint frequencies of the mtDNA variants and incompatibility types.

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