Indexed on: 05 Sep '07Published on: 05 Sep '07Published in: Genetica
Drosophila ananassae and Drosophila pallidosa are closely related species that can produce viable and fertile hybrids of both sexes, although strong sexual isolation exists between the two species. Females are thought to discriminate conspecific from heterospecific males based on their courtship songs. The genetic basis of female discrimination behavior was analyzed using isogenic females from interspecific mosaic genome lines that carry homozygous recombinant chromosomes. Multiple regression analysis indicated a highly significant effect of the left arm of chromosome 2 (2L) on the willingness of females to mate with D. ananassae males. Not only 2L but also the left arm of chromosome X (XL) and the right arm of chromosome 3 (3R) had significant effects on the females' willingness to mate with D. pallidosa males. All regions with strong effects on mate choice have chromosome arrangements characterized by species-specific inversions. Heterospecific combinations of 2L and 3R have previously been suggested to cause postzygotic reproductive isolation. Thus, genes involved in premating as well as postmating isolation are located in or near chromosomal inversions. This conclusion is consistent with the recently proposed hypothesis that "speciation genes" accumulate at a higher rate in non-recombining genome regions when species divergence occurs in the presence of gene flow.