Sexual isolation between Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans and D. mauritiana: sex and species specific discrimination

Genetica. 2000;108(2):155-62. doi: 10.1023/a:1004132414511.


The sexual isolation among the related species Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans and D. mauritiana is asymmetrical. While D. mauritiana males mate well with both D. melanogaster and D. simulans females, females of D. mauritiana discriminate strongly against males of these two species. Similarly, D. simulans males mate with D. melanogaster females but the reciprocal cross is difficult. Interspecific crosses between several populations of the three species were performed to determine if (i) males and females of the same species share a common sexual isolation genetic system, and (ii) males (or females) use the same genetic system to discriminate against females (or males) of the other two species. Results indicate that although differences in male and female isolation depend on the populations tested, the isolation behaviour between a pair of species is highly correlated despite the variations. However, the rank order of the isolation level along the populations was not correlated in both sexes, which suggests that different genes act in male and female sexual isolation. Neither for males nor for females, the isolation behaviour of one species was paralleled in the other two species, which indicates that the genetic systems involved in this trait are species-pair specific. The implications of these results are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Male
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Species Specificity