An essential cell cycle regulation gene causes hybrid inviability in Drosophila

Science. 2015 Dec 18;350(6267):1552-5. doi: 10.1126/science.aac7504.


Speciation, the process by which new biological species arise, involves the evolution of reproductive barriers, such as hybrid sterility or inviability between populations. However, identifying hybrid incompatibility genes remains a key obstacle in understanding the molecular basis of reproductive isolation. We devised a genomic screen, which identified a cell cycle-regulation gene as the cause of male inviability in hybrids resulting from a cross between Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans. Ablation of the D. simulans allele of this gene is sufficient to rescue the adult viability of hybrid males. This dominantly acting cell cycle regulator causes mitotic arrest and, thereby, inviability of male hybrid larvae. Our genomic method provides a facile means to accelerate the identification of hybrid incompatibility genes in other model and nonmodel systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle / genetics*
  • Chimera / genetics
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Drosophila simulans / genetics*
  • Drosophila simulans / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Essential / genetics
  • Genes, Essential / physiology
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genes, Lethal / genetics
  • Genes, Lethal / physiology*
  • Genetic Speciation*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Reproductive Isolation*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • GFZF protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KU064780
  • GENBANK/KU064781
  • GENBANK/KU064782
  • GENBANK/KU064783
  • GENBANK/KU064784
  • GENBANK/KU064785
  • GENBANK/KU064786
  • GENBANK/KU064787
  • GENBANK/KU064788
  • GENBANK/KU064789
  • GENBANK/KU064790
  • GENBANK/KU064791
  • GENBANK/KU064792
  • GENBANK/KU064793
  • GENBANK/KU064794
  • GENBANK/KU064795