Length and position of breakpoints are characteristics of inversions that can be precisely determined on the polytene chromosomes of Drosophila species, and they provide crucial information about the processes that govern the origin and evolution of inversions. Eighty-six paracentric inversions described in the Drosophila buzzatii species complex and 18 inversions induced by introgressive hybridization in D. buzzatii were analyzed. In contrast to previous studies, inversion length and breakpoint distribution have been considered simultaneously. We conclude that: (1) inversion length is a selected trait; rare inversions are predominantly small while evolutionarily successful inversions, polymorphic and fixed are predominantly intermediate in length; a nearly continuous variation in length, from small to medium sized, is found between less and more successful inversions; (2) there exists a significant negative correlation between length and number of polymorphic inversions per species which explains 39% of the inversion length variance; (3) natural selection on inversion length seems the main factor determining the relative position of breakpoints along the chromosomes; (4) the distribution of breakpoints according to their band location is non-random, with chromosomal segments that accumulate up to eight breakpoints.
- Drosophila buzzatii complex
- Inversion breakpoints
- Inversion length
- Inversion polymorphism
- Polymorphic inversion richness