Affordable Access

Heterogeneity of Lethals in a "Simple" Lethal Complementation Group

The Genetics Society of America
Publication Date
  • Investigations


Of 24 ethyl methanesulphonate-induced, recessive-lethal mutations in the region 9E1-9F13 of the X chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster , eight fall into a typically homogeneous lethal complementation group associated with the raspberry (ras) locus. Mutations in this group have previously been shown to be pleiotropic, affecting not only ras but also two other genetic entities, gua1 and pur1, which yield auxotrophic mutations.—The eight new mutations have been characterized phenotypically in double heterozygotes with gua1, pur1 and ras mutations. Despite their homogeneity in lethal complementation tests, the mutations prove quite diverse. For example, two mutations have little or no effect on eye color in double heterozygotes with ras2 . The differences between the lethals are allele-specific and cannot be explained as a trivial outcome of a hypomorphic series.—Taken alone, the lethal complementation studies mask the complexity of the locus and the diversity of its recessive lethal alleles. By extension, we argue that the general use of lethal saturation studies provides an unduly simplified image of genetic organization. We suggest that the reason why recessive lethal mutations rarely present complex complementation patterns is that complex loci tend to produce mutations that affect several subfunctions.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.