Polymorphism for Y-linked suppressors of sex-ratio in two natural populations of Drosophila mediopunctata

Carvalho, ABV, S. C.; Klaczko, L. B.,  Genetics,  146:891-902. 1997.

In several Drosophila species there is a trait known as ”sex-ratio”: males carrying certain X chromosomes (called ”SR”) produce female biased progenies due to X-Y meiotic drive. In Drosophila mediopunctata this trait has a variable expression due to Y-linked suppressors of sex-ratio expression, among other factors. There are two types of Y chromosomes (suppressor and nonsuppressor) and two types of SR chromosomes (suppressible and unsuppressible). Sex-ratio expression is suppressed in males with the SRsuppressible/Y-suppressor genotype, whereas the remaining three genotypes produce female biased progenies. Now we have found that similar to 10-20% of the Y chromosomes from two natural populations 1500 km apart are suppressors of sex-ratio expression. Preliminary estimates indicate that Y-suppressor has a meiotic drive advantage of 6% over Y-nonsuppressor. This Y polymorphism for a nonneutral trait is unexpected under current population genetics theory. We propose that this polymorphism is stabilized by an equilibrium between meiotic drive and natural selection, resulting from interactions in the population dynamics of X and Y alleles. Numerical simulations showed that this mechanism may stabilize nonneutral Y polymorphisms such as we have found in D. mediopunctata.