The genetics of mating recognition between Drosophila simulans and D. sechellia

Genet Res. 2003 Oct;82(2):117-26. doi: 10.1017/s0016672303006360.


During courtship, visual and chemical signals are often exchanged between the sexes. The proper exchange of such signals ensures intraspecific recognition. We have examined the genetic basis of interspecific differences in male mating behaviour and pheromone concentration between Drosophila simulans and D. sechellia by using Drosophila simulans/D. sechellia introgression lines. Our results show a majority of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) explaining variation in both male mating behaviour and pheromone concentration to be located on the third chromosome. One QTL found on the third chromosome explains variation in time needed to start courtship and copulation as well as time spent courting. The position of such QTL (approximately 84A-88B) with effects on courtship and copulation aspects of mating includes the candidate sex determination gene doublesex (84E5-6) and Voila (86E1-2), a gene that affects male courtship in D. melanogaster. One additional third chromosome QTL explained variation in 7-tricosene pheromone concentrations among males. The interval mapping position of this QTL (approximately 68E-76E) did not overlap with the position detected for differences in mating behaviour and the intervals did not include candidate genes previously identified as having an effect on D. melanogaster cuticular hydrocarbon production. We did not detect any directionality of the effect of Drosophila sechellia allele introgressions in male mating recognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkenes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Courtship
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Male
  • Pheromones / metabolism
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*


  • Alkenes
  • Genetic Markers
  • Pheromones
  • 7-tricosene