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``sex Ratio'' Meiotic Drive in Drosophila Testacea

  • A. C. James
  • J. Jaenike
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1990
  • Ecology
  • Mathematics
  • Social Sciences


We document the occurrence of ``sex ratio'' meiotic drive in natural populations of Drosophila testacea. ``Sex ratio'' males sire >95% female offspring. Genetic analysis reveals that this effect is due to a meiotically driven X chromosome, as in other species of Drosophila in which ``sex ratio'' has been found. In contrast to other drosophilids, the ``sex ratio'' and standard chromosomes of D. testacea do not differ in gene arrangement, implying that the effect may be due to a single genetic factor in this species. In all likelihood, the ``sex ratio'' condition has evolved independently in D. testacea and in the Drosophila obscura species group, as the loci responsible for the effect occur on different chromosomal elements. An important ecological consequence of ``sex ratio'' is that natural populations of D. testacea exhibit a strong female bias. Because D. testacea mates, oviposits, and feeds as adults and larvae on mushrooms, this species provides an excellent opportunity to study the selective factors in nature that prevent ``sex ratio'' chromosomes from increasing to fixation and causing the extinction of the species.


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