Experimental population-genetics of meiotic drive systems .3: Neutralization of sex-ratio distortion in Drosophila through sex-chromosome aneuploidy

Lyttle, TW,  Genetics,  98:317-334. 1981.

Laboratory populations of Drosophila melanogaster were challenged by; pseudo-Y drive, which mimics true Y-chromosome meiotic drive through the; incorporation of Segregation Distorter (SD) in a T(Y;2) complex. This causes; extreme sex-ratio distrotion and can ultimately lead to population extinction.; Populations normally respond by the gradual accumulation of drive suppressors,; and this reduction in strength of distortion allows the sex ratio to move; closer to the optimal value of 1:l. One population monitored, however, was; rapidly able to neutralize the effects of sex-ratio distortion by the accumulation; of sex-chromosome aneuploids (XXY, XYY) . This apparently occurs because; XX-bearing eggs, produced in relatively high numbers (-4%) by XXY; genotypes, become the main population source of females under strong Ychromosome; drive. Computer simulation for a discrete generation model incorporating; random mating with differences in fitness and segregation permits; several predictions that can be compared to the data. First, sex-chromosome; aneuploids should rapidly attain equilibrium, while stabilizing the population; at -60% males. This sex ratio should be roughly independent of the strength; of the meiotic drive. Moreover, conditions favoring the accumulation of drive; suppressors (e.g., weak distortion, slow population extinction) are insufficient; for maintaining aneuploidy, while conditions favoring aneuploidy (e.g., strong; distortion, low production of females) lead to population extinction before drive; suppressors can accumulate. Thus, the different mechanisms for neutralizing; sex-ratio distortion are complementary. In addition, Y drive and sex-chromosome; aneuploidy are potentially co-adaptive, since under some conditions; neither will survive alone. Finally, these results suggest the possibility that; genetic variants promoting sex-chromosome nondisjunction may have a selective; advantage in natural populations faced with sex-ratio distortion.