Genetic analyses of several Drosophila ananassae-complex species show a low-frequency major gene for parthenogenesis that maps to chromosome 2

Genet Res. 2004 Apr;83(2):83-9. doi: 10.1017/s0016672303006657.


Parthenogenetic strains of several species have been found in the genus Drosophila. The mode of diploidization in the eggs of females has been found to be post-meiotic nuclear fusion. The genetic basis for this parthenogenesis is not understood but is believed to be under the control of a complex polygenic system. We found parthenogenetic females in an isofemale strain (LAE345) of D. pallidosa-like collected in 1981 at Lae, Papua New Guinea, and established a parthenogenetically reproducing strain. Parthenogenetic strains of D. ananassae and D. pallidosa collected at Taputimu, American Samoa had also been established by Futch (1972). D. ananassae, D. pallidosa and D. pallidosa-like are very closely related species belonging to the ananassae complex of the ananassae species subgroup of the melanogaster species group. Using these three species, we found that more than 80% of females from parthenogenetic strains produced progeny parthenogenetically and that inter-specific hybrid females also produced impaternate progeny. In the present report, we demonstrate that the mode of parthenogenesis of D. ananassae appears to be the post-meiotic nuclear doubling of a single meiotic product, and that a major gene responsible for the parthenogenesis maps to the left arm of the second chromosome of D. ananassae. We also suggest that the genetic basis for parthenogenesis capacity may be identical among the three closely related species. We discuss the function of the gene required for parthenogenesis and its significance for the evolutionary process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Meiosis / genetics
  • Meiosis / physiology
  • Parthenogenesis / genetics*