Genetical Research

Research Article

Interactions among modifiers of retrotransposon-induced alleles of the white locus of Drosophila melanogaster

Leonard Rabinowa1 and James Birchlera1

a1 The Biological Laboratories, Harvard University, 16 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA. 02138


Mutations in five loci that modify the phenotype of whiteapricot (wa), caused by the retrotransposon, copia, were examined in two-way combinations to determine whether their effects were additive or epistatic. All two-way combinations of mutations in these five loci, mottler of white (mw), suppressor of forked (su(f)), suppressor of white apricot (su(wa)), Enhancer of whiteapricot, (E(wa)) and Darkener of apricot (Doa), are additive in their effects on wa, implying that each second-site modifier locus affects a different process. Three other copia-induced mutations, HwUa, whd81b25 and ctns were also examined for responsiveness to mutations in these modifier loci. None clearly responded. Mutations associated with B104 insertions, including Gl, vgni, ctn and wric were also examined for responsiveness to mw mutations, which have specificity for this element as well. Both vgni and wric respond to mutations in mw. The former interaction demonstrates that mw is capable of interacting with B104 elements in loci other than white. The significance of the results with respect to the nature of second-site modifier loci is discussed.

(Received October 25 1989)

(Revised January 04 1990)