Haldane's rule (i.e., the preferential hybrid sterility and inviability of heterogametic sex) has been known for 70 years, but its genetic basis, which is crucial to the understanding of the process of species formation, remains unclear. In the present study, we have investigated the genetic basis of hybrid male sterility using Drosophila simulans, Drosophila mauritiana and Drosophila sechellia. An introgression of D. sechellia Y chromosome into a fairly homogenous background of D. simulans did not show any effect of the introgressed Y on male sterility. The substitution of D. simulans Y chromosome into D. sechellia, and both reciprocal Y chromosome substitutions between D. simulans and D. mauritiana were unsuccessful. Introgressions of cytoplasm between D. simulans and D. mauritiana (or D. sechellia) also did not have any effect on hybrid male sterility. These results rule out the X-Y interaction hypothesis as a general explanation of Haldane's rule in this species group and indicate an involvement of an X-autosome interaction. Models of symmetrical and asymmetrical X-autosome interaction have been developed which explain the Y chromosome substitution results and suggest that evolution of interactions between different genetic elements in the early stages of speciation is more likely to be of an asymmetrical nature. The model of asymmetrical X-autosome interaction also predicts that different sets of interacting genes may be involved in different pairs of related species and can account for the observation that hybrid male sterility in many partially isolated species is often nonreciprocal or unidirectional.