Anent the genomics of spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster

PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55915. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055915. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

Abstract

An appreciable fraction of the Drosophila melanogaster genome is dedicated to male fertility. One approach to characterizing this subset of the genome is through the study of male-sterile mutations. We studied the relation between vital and male-fertility genes in three large autosomal regions that were saturated for lethal and male-sterile mutations. The majority of male-sterile mutations affect genes that are exclusively expressed in males. These genes are required only for male fertility, and several mutant alleles of each such gene were encountered. A few male-sterile mutations were alleles of vital genes that are expressed in both males and females. About one-fifth of the genes in Drosophila melanogaster show male-specific expression in adults. Although some earlier studies found a paucity of genes on the X chromosome showing male-biased expression, we did not find any significant differences between the X chromosome and the autosomes either in the relative frequencies of mutations to male sterility or in the frequencies of genes with male-specific expression in adults. Our results suggest that as much as 25% of the Drosophila genome may be dedicated to male fertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genome, Insect
  • Genomics*
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Polytene Chromosomes
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*
  • X Chromosome