An X-linked sex ratio distorter in Drosophila simulans that kills or incapacitates both noncarrier sperm and sons

Rice, WR,  G3-Genes Genomes Genetics,  4:1837-1848. 2014.

Genomic conflict occurs when a genomic component gains a reproductive advantage at the expense of the organism as a whole. X-linked segregation distorters kill or incapacitate Y-bearing sperm, thereby gaining a transmission advantage but also reducing male fertility and generating a female-biased sex ratio. When some damaged, Y-bearing sperm survive and fertilize eggs, then the segregation distortion phenotype could be expanded by harming or killing sons in the next generation. X-linked son-killers are predicted by theory to be favored by natural selection and evolve when brothers and sisters compete for shared limiting resources and/or when brothers reduce the inclusive fitness of their sisters via sib-mating-a phenomenon called SA-zygotic drive. Here I develop and use a process-of-elimination screen to show that an unclassified X-linked sex ratio distorter (skew) in Drosophila simulans kills or incapacitates noncarrier sperm and also kills a substantial proportion of sons, i.e., it has both a segregation distortion and a SA-zygotic drive phenotype. There are three unique X-linked segregation distorters known to occur in D. simulans named Winters, Durham, and Paris. Autosomal-dominant suppressors of Winters (Nmy) and Durham (Tmy) failed to suppress skew. A Y-linked suppressor of Paris, however, did suppress skew, and a recombination test failed to detect recombinants between these two sex ratio distorters, indicating that they are tightly linked and plausibly identical or allelic. Son-killing may be an important yet unrecognized component of other X-linked segregation distorters.