Factors affecting the distribution of cytoplasmic incompatibility in Drosophila simulans

A. A. Hoffmann, M. Turelli, L. G. Harshman

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316 Scopus citations


In Drosophila simulans a Wolbachia-like microorganism is responsible for reduced egg-hatch when infected males mate with uninfected females. Both incompatibility types have previously been found in North America, Europe and Africa. Some California populations have remained polymorphic for over two years, and the infection is apparently spreading in central California. Egg hatch proportions for wild-caught females from polymorphic populations show that the incompatibility system acts in nature, but egg mortality rates are apparently lower than observed in laboratory populations. Although infected females maintained under various laboratory conditions never produce uninfected offspring, some wild-caught infected females produce both infected and uninfected progeny. This helps explain the persistence of a low frequency of uninfected flies in predominantly infected populations and may also explain the other polymorphisms observed. Fitness comparisons of infected and uninfected stocks, including both larval and adult fitness components, indicate that fecundity may be the component most affected. Infected females suffer a fecundity reduction of 10-20% in the laboratory, but the reduction seems to be smaller in nature. A theoretical analysis provides some insight into the population biology of the infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-948
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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