Inviability of hybrids between D. melanogaster and D. simulans results from the absence of simulans X not the presence of simulans Y chromosome

Genetica. 1992;87(3):151-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00240554.


Interspecific crosses between D. melanogaster and D. simulans or its sibling species result in unisexual inviability of the hybrids. Mostly, crosses of D. melanogaster females x D. simulans males produce hybrid females. On the other hand, only hybrid males are viable in the reciprocal crosses. A classical question is the cause of the unisexual hybrid inviability on the chromosomal level. Is it due to the absence of a D. simulans X chromosome or is it due to the presence of a D. simulans Y chromosome? A lack of adequate chromosomal rearrangements available in D. simulans has made it difficult to answer this question. However, it has been assumed that the lethality results from the absence of the D. simulans X rather than the presence of the D. simulans Y. Recently I synthesized the first D. simulans compound-XY chromosome that consists of almost the entire X and Y chromosomes. Males carrying the compound-XY and no free Y chromosome are fertile. By utilizing the compound-XY chromosome, the viability of hybrids with various constitutions of cytoplasm and sex chromosomes has been examined. The results consistently demonstrate that the absence of a D. simulans X chromosome in hybrid genome, and not the presence of the Y chromosome, is a determinant of the hybrid inviability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Heterozygote
  • Male
  • X Chromosome / physiology*
  • Y Chromosome / physiology*