The evolutionary history of Drosophila simulans Y chromosomes reveals molecular signatures of resistance to sex ratio meiotic drive

C. Courret, D. Ogereau, C. Gilbert, A. M. Larracuente and C. Montchamp-Moreau,  Mol Biol Evol,  2023.

The recent evolutionary history of the Y chromosome in Drosophila simulans, a worldwide species of Afrotropical origin, is closely linked to that of X-linked meiotic drivers (Paris system). The spread of the Paris drivers in natural populations has elicited the selection of drive resistant Y chromosomes. To infer the evolutionary history of the Y chromosome in relation to the Paris drive, we sequenced 21 iso-Y lines, each carrying a Y chromosome from a different location. Among them, 13 lines carry a Y chromosome that is able to counteract the effect of the drivers. Despite their very different geographical origins, all sensitive Y’s are highly similar, suggesting that they share a recent common ancestor. The resistant Y chromosomes are more divergent and segregate in four distinct clusters. The phylogeny of the Y chromosome confirms that the resistant lineage predates the emergence of Paris drive. The ancestry of the resistant lineage is further supported by the examination of Y-linked sequences in the sister species of D. simulans, D. sechellia, and D. mauritiana. We also characterized the variation in repeat content among Y chromosomes and identified multiple simple satellites associated with resistance. Altogether, the molecular polymorphism allows us to infer the demographic and evolutionary history of the Y chromosome and provides new insights on the genetic basis of resistance.

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