The evolutionary history of Drosophila buzzatti. XXVI. Macrogeographic patterns of inversion polymorphism in New World populations

Esteban Hasson, Constantina Rodríguez, Juan J. Fanara, Horacio Naveira, Osvaldo A. Reig, Antonio Fontdevila

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Inversion polymorphisms in the second and fourth chromosomes of the cactophilic Drosophila buzzatti in the native distribution range of the species are described. Over 5,000 flies from 26 localities were scored revealing interesting geographic structuring of arrangement frequencies. Multiple regression and partial correlation approaches showed that the frequencies of second and fourth chromosome arrangements vary clinically along latitudinal and altitudinal gradients and to a lesser extent with longitude. Although many non selective explanations can account for this pattern, its resemblance to the clinal pattern described in recently established Australian populations of Drosophila buzzatii, strongly suggests a selective explanation. Additionally, the correlated variation observed between the frequencies of arrangements 2St on the second chromosome and 4St on the fourth suggests a pattern of interchromosomal association, which, when considering the vast area surveyed, might be explained as the result of epistatic interactions. The analysis of population structure revealed a significant regional pattern, concordant with previously described phytogeographic regions. F‐statistics showed that the patterns of variation were different not only between the second and fourth chromosomes, but also between second chromosome arrangements, suggesting that selective differentiation might have contributed to population structure. Since D. buzzatii breeds and feeds on the decaying tissues of diverse cactus species present in different phytogeographic regions, it is difficult to distinguish the underlying causes of the geographic patterns observed. However, inversion heterozygosity is not correlated with the diversity of potential cactus hosts. The evidence presented suggests that differential selection may be the main cause for the population structure. It is also possible to conclude that the inversion polymorphism of D. buzzatti is flexible rather than rigid. Copyright © 1995, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-384
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • clines
  • Drosophila
  • geographic variation
  • Inversion polymorphism
  • natural selection


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