A combined classical genetic and high resolution two-dimensional electrophoretic approach to the assessment of the number of genes affecting hybrid male sterility in Drosophila simulans and Drosophila sechellia.
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We have attempted to estimate the number of genes involved in postzygotic reproductive isolation between two closely related species, Drosophila simulans and Drosophila sechellia, by a novel approach that involves the use of high resolution two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) to examine testis proteins in parents, hybrids and fertile and sterile backcross progenies. The important results that have emerged from this study are as follows: (1) about 8% of about 1000 proteins examined showed divergence (presence/absence) between the two species; (2) by tracing individual proteins in parental, hybrid and backcross males, we were able to associate the divergent proteins with different chromosomes and found that most divergent proteins are associated with autosomes and very few with X chromosome, Y chromosome and cytoplasm; (3) when proteins showing both quantitative and qualitative differences between the two species were examined in F1 hybrid males, most (97.4%) proteins were expressed at levels between the two parents and no sign of large scale changes in spot density was observed. All the proteins observed in the two parental species were present in F1 hybrid males except two species-specific proteins that may be encoded (or regulated) by sex chromosomes; (4) when different fertile and sterile backcross male testes were compared, a few D. sechellia-specific proteins were identified to be consistently associated with male sterility. These results along with the observation that a large proportion (23.6%) of first generation backcross males were fertile show that hybrid male sterility between D. simulans and D. sechellia involves a relatively small number of genes. Role of large scale genetic changes due to general genome incompatibility is not supported. The results also suggest that the large effect of X chromosome on hybrid male sterility is not due to higher divergence of X chromosome than autosomes.
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