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The effects of aberrant chromosomes on variegation and crossing over in Drosophila melanogaster Garland, Maureen Rosina

Abstract

It has been suggested (Suzuki, 1965a) that the extrinsic and intrinsic factors which increase crossing over in the centromere regions of Drosophila do so by inactivating these regions at the time of crossing over; the inactivation resulting in altered chromosome structure which permits the intimate synapsis necessary for crossing over. This hypothesis predicts that the 3L heterochromatic marker w⁺ carried in Dp(wm)264.58a, which exhibits position effect variegation, would tend to be inactivated by chromosome aberrations, known to increase crossing over. The reversed acrocentric (RA) compound X chromosome, the X chromosome inversions sc⁴sc⁸ and sc⁸, the autosomal inversions Cy, Sb, and Ubx, and the Minute mutants M(2) and M(3) were tested for their effects on the expression of w⁺ in various coisogenic stocks. The amount of pigment in each eye was visually scored into twelve classes. Crossover analyses of the centromere regions of chromosomes 2 and 3 were performed to confirm the effects of sc⁴sc⁸, Cy, Ubx, and Sb on crossing over. The RA, sc⁴sc⁸, Cy, and Ubx all increase crossing over and significantly depress the activity of w⁺. The degree of pigment reduction is correlated with the amount of increase in crossing over. Combination of these aberrations produces an effect on pigmentation and crossing over greater than that produced by either considered singly. Sb has a slight effect in increasing crossing over and decreasing pigmentation. M(3), known to increase crossing over, significantly decreases pigmentation whereas M(2) does not. The effect of the X chromosome inversion sc⁸ is doubtful. Expression of w⁺ is affected similarly in males and females, an observation suggesting that the chromosome physiology of both sexes is similar although the actual factor(s) mediating crossing over are absent in the males. These results lend support to the proposed hypothesis but, with fluctuating parental source effects and variations found within a stock testifying to the general lability of the system, further tests under stringently controlled conditions are necessary before such experiments can be considered critical.

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