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Genetics. 2004 Jul;167(3):1249-63.

The quantitative genetic basis of male mating behavior in Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7614, USA. ajmoehri@unity.ncsu.edu


Male mating behavior is an important component of fitness in Drosophila and displays segregating variation in natural populations. However, we know very little about the genes affecting naturally occurring variation in mating behavior, their effects, or their interactions. Here, we have mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting courtship occurrence, courtship latency, copulation occurrence, and copulation latency that segregate between a D. melanogaster strain selected for reduced male mating propensity (2b) and a standard wild-type strain (Oregon-R). Mating behavior was assessed in a population of 98 recombinant inbred lines derived from these two strains and QTL affecting mating behavior were mapped using composite interval mapping. We found four QTL affecting male mating behavior at cytological locations 1A;3E, 57C;57F, 72A;85F, and 96F;99A. We used deficiency complementation mapping to map the autosomal QTL with much higher resolution to five QTL at 56F5;56F8, 56F9;57A3, 70E1;71F4, 78C5;79A1, and 96F1;97B1. Quantitative complementation tests performed for 45 positional candidate genes within these intervals revealed 7 genes that failed to complement the QTL: eagle, 18 wheeler, Enhancer of split, Polycomb, spermatocyte arrest, l(2)05510, and l(2)k02206. None of these genes have been previously implicated in mating behavior, demonstrating that quantitative analysis of subtle variants can reveal novel pleiotropic effects of key developmental loci on behavior.

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