The genetic basis of sterility in male hybrids of Drosophila buzzatii and D. koepferae has been investigated by assessment of the effects on spermatogenesis of substituting separate chromosome segments of the recipient species with the homologous material from the donor species, either in heterozygous (autosomes) or hemizygous (X chromosome) condition, after successive backcrossing of hybrid females to either parental species. Introgressed segments were identified by the characteristic asynapsis of the polytene chromosomes in their heterospecific regions. Except for one case, the introgression of chromosome segments either from autosome 3, 4, or 5 brings about sterility only when the introgressed segment exceeds a minimum size (threshold size). Segments of equal size frequently produce similar abnormalities, whose severity increases with the size of the introgressed segment. Apparently, throughout these autosomes of D. buzzatii and D. koepferae there are many non-allelic, minor sterility genes, whose individual segregation cannot be recognized phenotypically, and which act cumulatively on the same characteristics of spermatogenesis, each contributing a small effect to the phenotype. Accordingly, these genes should be considered as polygenes, and the type of sterility they bring about should be properly designated polygenic sterility. © 1991 The Genetical Society of Great Britain.
- Male hybrids