Sex-ratio meiotic drive in Drosophila simulans is related to equational nondisjunction of the Y chromosome

Cazemajor, MJ, D.; Montchamp-Moreau, C.,  Genetics,  154:229-236. 2000.

The sex-ratio trait, an example of naturally occurring X-linked meiotic drive, has been reported in a dozen Drosophila species. Males carrying a sex-ratio X chromosome produce an excess of female offspring caused by a deficiency of Y-bearing sperm. In Drosophila simulans, such males produce similar to 70-90% female offspring, and 15-30% of the male offspring are sterile. Here, we investigate the cytological basis of the drive in this species. We show that the sex-ratio trait is associated with nondisjunction of Y chromatids in meiosis II. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using sex-chromosome-specific probes provides dir-ect evidence that the drive is caused by the failure of the resulting spermatids to develop into functional sperm. XYY progeny were not observed, indicating that few or no YY spermatids escape failure. The recovery of XO males among the progeny of sex-ratio males shows that some nullo-XY spermatids become functional sperm and likely explains the male sterility. A review of the cytological data. in other species shows that aberrant behavior of the Y chromosome may be a common basis of sex-ratio meiotic drive in Drosophila and the signal that triggers differential spermiogenesis failure.