Sex-ratio meiotic drive shapes the evolution of the Y chromosome in Drosophila simulans

Q. Helleu, C. Courret, D. Ogereau, K. L. Burnham, N. Chaminade, M. Chakir, S. Aulard and C. Montchamp-Moreau,  Molecular Biology and Evolution,  36:2668-2681. 2019.

The recent emergence and spread of X-linked segregation distorters-called “Paris” system-in the worldwide species Drosophila simulans has elicited the selection of drive-resistant Y chromosomes. Here, we investigate the evolutionary history of 386 Y chromosomes originating from 29 population samples collected over a period of 20 years, showing a wide continuum of phenotypes when tested against the Paris distorters, from high sensitivity to complete resistance (males sire similar to 95% to similar to 40% female progeny). Analyzing around 13 kb of Y-linked gene sequences in a representative subset of nine Y chromosomes, we identified only three polymorphic sites resulting in three haplotypes. Remarkably, one of the haplotypes is associated with resistance. This haplotype is fixed in all samples from Sub-Saharan Africa, the region of origin of the drivers. Exceptionally, with the spread of the drivers in Egypt and Morocco, we were able to record the replacement of the sensitive lineage by the resistant haplotype in real time, within only a few years. In addition, we performed in situ hybridization, using satellite DNA probes, on a subset of 21 Y chromosomes from six locations. In contrast to the low molecular polymorphism, this revealed extensive structural variation suggestive of rapid evolution, either neutral or adaptive. Moreover, our results show that intragenomic conflicts can drive astonishingly rapid replacement of Y chromosomes and suggest that the emergence of Paris segregation distorters in East Africa occurred less than half a century ago.