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Genetics. 1997 Sep;147(1):231-42.

Reproductive isolation and morphogenetic evolution in Drosophila analyzed by breakage of ethological barriers.

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Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Velázquez, Madrid, Spain.


This article reports the breaking of ethological barriers through the constitution of soma-germ line chimeras between species of the melanogaster subgroup of Drosophila, which are ethologically isolated. Female Drosophila yakuba and D. teissieri germ cells in a D. melanogaster ovary produced functional oocytes that, when fertilized by D. melanogaster sperm, gave rise to sterile yakuba-melanogaster and teissieri-melanogaster male and female hybrids. However, the erecta-melanogaster and orena-melanogaster hybrids were lethal, since female D. erecta and D. orena germ cells in a D. melanogaster ovary failed to form oocytes with the capacity to develop normally. This failure appears to be caused by an altered interaction between the melanogaster soma and the erecta and orena germ lines. Germ cells of D. teissieri and D. orena in a D. melanogaster testis produced motile sperm that was not stored in D. melanogaster females. This might be due to incompatibility between the teissieri and orena sperm and the melanogaster seminal fluid. A morphological analysis of the terminalia of yakuba-melanogaster and teissieri-melanogaster hybrids was performed. The effect on the terminalia of teissieri-melanogaster hybrids of a mutation in doublesex, a regulatory gene that controls the development of the terminalia, was also investigated.

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