The molecular basis of P-M hybrid dysgenesis: the role of the P element, a P-strain-specific transposon family

Cell. 1982 Jul;29(3):995-1004. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(82)90463-9.


We have shown previously that four of five white mutant alleles arising in P-M dysgenic hybrids result from the insertion of strongly homologous DNA sequence elements. We have named these P elements. We report that P elements are present in 30-50 copies per haploid genome in all P strains examined and apparently are missing entirely from all M strains examined, with one exception. Furthermore, members of the P family apparently transpose frequently in P-M dysgenic hybrids; chromosomes descendant from P-M dysgenic hybrids frequently show newly acquired P elements. Finally, the strain-specific breakpoint hotspots for the rearrangement of the pi 2 P X chromosome occurring in P-M dysgenic hybrids are apparently sites of residence of P elements. These observations strongly support the P factor hypothesis for the mechanistic basis of P-M hybrid dysgenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Infertility / genetics
  • Male
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA Transposable Elements