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Evolution. 2014 Sep;68(9):2718-26. doi: 10.1111/evo.12455. Epub 2014 Jun 20.

Do males matter? Testing the effects of male genetic background on female meiotic crossover rates in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27695.


Meiotic recombination is a critical genetic process as well as a pivotal evolutionary force. Rates of crossing over are highly variable within and between species, due to both genetic and environmental factors. Early studies in Drosophila implicated female genetic background as a major determinant of crossover rate and recent work has highlighted male genetic background as a possible mediator as well. Our study employed classical genetics to address how female and male genetic backgrounds individually and jointly affect crossover rates. We measured rates of crossing over in a 33 cM region of the Drosophila melanogaster X chromosome using a two-step crossing scheme exploiting visible markers. In total, we measured crossover rates of 10 inbred lines in a full diallel cross. Our experimental design facilitates measuring the contributions of female genetic background, male genetic background, and female by male genetic background interaction effects on rates of crossing over in females. Our results indicate that although female genetic background significantly affects female meiotic crossover rates in Drosophila, male genetic background and the interaction of female and male genetic backgrounds have no significant effect. These findings thus suggest that male-mediated effects are unlikely to contribute greatly to variation in recombination rates in natural populations of Drosophila.


Drosophila; meiosis; recombination

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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