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Genetics. 2010 Mar;184(3):779-87. doi: 10.1534/genetics.109.112896. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Simple Y-autosomal incompatibilities cause hybrid male sterility in reciprocal crosses between Drosophila virilis and D. americana.

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


Postzygotic reproductive isolation evolves when hybrid incompatibilities accumulate between diverging populations. Here, I examine the genetic basis of hybrid male sterility between two species of Drosophila, Drosophila virilis and D. americana. From these analyses, I reach several conclusions. First, neither species carries any autosomal dominant hybrid male sterility alleles: reciprocal F(1) hybrid males are perfectly fertile. Second, later generation (backcross and F(2)) hybrid male sterility between D. virilis and D. americana is not polygenic. In fact, I identified only three genetically independent incompatibilities that cause hybrid male sterility. Remarkably, each of these incompatibilities involves the Y chromosome. In one direction of the cross, the D. americana Y is incompatible with recessive D. virilis alleles at loci on chromosomes 2 and 5. In the other direction, the D. virilis Y chromosome causes hybrid male sterility in combination with recessive D. americana alleles at a single QTL on chromosome 5. Finally, in contrast with findings from other Drosophila species pairs, the X chromosome has only a modest effect on hybrid male sterility between D. virilis and D. americana.

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