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Genetics. 1990 Jul;125(3):527-34.

Two tests of Y chromosomal variation in male fertility of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802.


Deficiency mapping with Y autosome translocations has shown that the Y chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster carries genes that are essential to male fertility. While the qualitative behavior of these lesions provides important insight into the physiological importance of the Y chromosome, quantitative variation in effects on male fertility among extant Y chromosomes in natural populations may have a significant effect on the evolution of the Y chromosome. Here a series of 36 Y chromosome replacement lines were tested in two ways designed to detect subtle variation in effects on male fertility and total male fitness. The first test involved crossing males from the 36 lines to an excess of females in an attempt to measure differences in male mating success (virility) and male fecundity. The second test challenged males bearing each of the 36 Y chromosomes to competition in populations with males bearing a standard, phenotypically marked (BsY) chromosome. These tests indicated that the Y chromosome lines did not differ significantly in either male fertility or total fitness, but that interactions with autosomes approached significance. A deterministic population genetic model was developed allowing Y autosome interaction in fertility, and it is shown that, consistent with the experimental observations, this model cannot protect Y-linked polymorphism.

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