Genetical Research

Research Article

Genetics of a difference in cuticular hydrocarbons between Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis

Mohamed A. F. Noora1 p1 and Jerry A. Coynea1

a1 Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, 1101 E. 57th Street, IL 60637, USA


We identify a fixed species difference in the relative concentrations of the cuticular hydrocarbons 2-methyl hexacosane and 5,9-pentacosadiene in Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis, and determine its genetic basis. In backcross males, this difference is due to genes on both the X and second chromosomes, while the other two major chromosomes have no effect. In backcross females, only the second chromosome has a significant effect on hydrocarbon phenotype, but dominant genes on the X chromosome could also be involved. These results differ in two respects from previous studies of Drosophila cuticular hydrocarbons: strong epistasis is observed between the chromosomes that producethe hydrocarbon difference in males, and the difference is apparently unrelated to the strong sexual isolation observed between these species.


p1 Corresponding author. Present address: Section of Genetics and Development, Biotech. Bldg., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-2703 USA.