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Genetics. 2005 Feb;169(2):671-82. Epub 2005 Jan 16.

Segregation distortion in hybrids between the Bogota and USA subspecies of Drosophila pseudoobscura.

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Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


We show that, contrary to claims in the literature, "sterile" males resulting from the cross of the Bogota and USA subspecies of Drosophila pseudoobscura are weakly fertile. Surprisingly, these hybrid males produce almost all daughters when crossed to females of any genotype (pure Bogota, pure USA, hybrid F1). Several lines of evidence suggest that this sex ratio distortion is caused by sex chromosome segregation distortion in hybrid males. We genetically analyze this normally cryptic segregation distortion and show that it involves several regions of the Bogota X chromosome that show strong epistatic interactions with each other. We further show that segregation distortion is normally masked within the Bogota subspecies by autosomal suppressors. Our analysis shows that the genetic basis of hybrid segregation distortion is similar to that of hybrid male sterility between the same subspecies. Indeed the severity of segregation distortion is correlated with the severity of sterility among hybrids. We discuss the possibility that hybrid sterility in this paradigmatic case of incipient speciation is caused by segregation distortion.

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