Haldane's rule has multiple genetic causes

Nature. 1993 Feb 11;361(6412):532-3. doi: 10.1038/361532a0.


Haldane's rule states that "When in the F1 offspring of two different animal races one sex is absent, rare, or sterile, that sex is the heterozygous [heterogametic or XY] sex". This rule represents one of the few patterns characterizing animal speciation. Traditional explanations of Haldane's rule claim that heterogametic hybrids are unfit because they lack an X chromosome that is 'compatible' with the autosomes of one species. Recent work shows that this explanation is incorrect for hybrid sterility: contrary to prediction, homogametic hybrids carrying both X chromosomes from the same species remain fertile. Until now, similar tests have not been performed for hybrid inviability. Here I show that homogametic hybrids who carry both X chromosomes from the same species are inviable. These results show tht the genetic causes of Haldane's rule differ for hybrid sterility versus inviability. Haldane's rule does not, therefore, have a single genetic basis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Hybridization, Genetic*
  • Male
  • Sex Chromosomes*