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Genet Res. 1998 Apr;71(2):109-17.

Factors contributing to the hybrid dysgenesis syndrome in Drosophila virilis.

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Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


A hybrid dysgenesis syndrome in Drosophila virilis is associated with the mobilization of at least four unrelated transposable elements designated Helena, Paris, Penelope and Ulysses. We carried out 42 crosses between eight strains differing in transposable element copy number in order to assess their contributions to hybrid dysgenesis. Linear regression and stepwise regression analysis was performed to estimate the correlation between the difference in euchromatic transposable element number between the parental flies of different strains involved in the crosses and the percentage, in the progeny of these crosses, of males with atrophic gonads. Male gonadal atrophy is a typical manifestation of the D. virilis hybrid dysgenesis syndrome. About half the variability in the level of male gonadal atrophy can be attributed to Penelope and Paris/Helena. Other factors also seem to play a significant role in hybrid dysgenesis in D. virilis, including maternally transmitted host factors and/or uncontrolled environmental variation. In the course of this work a novel transposable element named Telemac was found. Telemac is also mobilized in hybrid dysgenesis but does not appear to play a major causative role.

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