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Heredity (Edinb). 2004 Dec;93(6):525-34.

Colour polymorphism in Drosophila mediopunctata: genetic (chromosomal) analysis and nonrandom association with chromosome inversions.

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  • 1Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Cx. Postal 6109, Campinas, 13083-970 SP, Brazil.


The presence of three dark spots on the abdomen is typical of the tripunctata group of Drosophila, which is the second largest Neotropical group, with 56 species. In some species, such as D. mediopunctata, the colour pattern varies considerably: ranging from flies showing no spots up to flies with three dark spots. In this paper, we present a genetic (chromosomal) analysis of this character showing that this colour polymorphism is genetically determined mainly by the second chromosome. Since this chromosome is the most polymorphic for inversions in this species, we also examined the influence of the inversions on this character. We used strains in which different second chromosomes were placed on the same genetic background and the offspring between them. We found a nonrandom association between the number of spots and the inversions PA0 and PC0. Thus, our results are consistent with the idea that the factors or genes determining a conspicuous polymorphism are likely to be associated, forming a supergene, and this association would be most efficiently accomplished through a chromosome inversion. Moreover, this is the first time that an association between a conspicuous morphological polymorphism and chromosome inversions has been described.

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