Genetic linkage between a sexually selected trait and X chromosome meiotic drive

Johns, PMW, L. L.; Wilkinson, G. S.,  Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences,  272:2097-2103. 2005.

Previous studies on the stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni, have shown that males with long eye-stalks win contests and are preferred by females, and artificial selection on male relative eye span alters brood sex-ratios. Subsequent theory proposes that X-linked meiotic drive can catalyse the evolution of mate preferences when drive is linked to ornament genes. Here we test this prediction by mapping meiotic drive and quantitative trait loci (QTL) for eye span. To map QTL we genotyped 24 microsatellite loci using 1228 F2 flies from two crosses between lines selected for long or short eye span. The crosses differed by presence or absence of a drive X chromosome, X-D, in the parental male. Linkage analysis reveals that X-D dramatically reduces recombination between X and X-D chromosomes. In the X-D cross, half of the F2 males carried the drive haplotype, produced partially elongated spermatids and female-biased broods, and had shorter eye span. The largest QTL mapped 1.3 cM from drive on the X chromosome and explained 36% of the variation in male eye span while another QTL mapped to an autosomal region that suppresses drive. These results indicate that selfish genetic elements that distort the sex-ratio can influence the evolution of exaggerated traits.