Genetic Studies on Drosophila Virilis: With Considerations on the Genetics of Other Species of Drosophila

Genetic Studies on Drosophila Virilis: With Considerations on the Genetics of Other Species of Drosophila

Genetic Studies on Drosophila Virilis: With Considerations on the Genetics of Other Species of Drosophila

Genetic Studies on Drosophila Virilis: With Considerations on the Genetics of Other Species of Drosophila

Excerpt

In most groups of animals and plants, including those susceptible to genetic study through intensive breeding, the chromosome groups of related species show a high degree of uniformity. The different members of a genus, for instance, usually differ relatively little in this regard. In some cases the uniformity may extend even to subfamilies or families, as, for example, in the Acrididæ among the Orthoptera, where all of approximately 40 genera studied agree in having essentially the same chromosome group (cf. McClung, 1914; Harvey, 1916). It would seem probable, a priori, that where many related species exhibit such a constancy in chromosome groups, the apparent homology of chromosomes is real, i. e., similar chromosomes in different species are essentially alike in genetic make-up. On the other hand, there are various exceptions to the general rule of constancy, and a number of cases are known in which closely related species have very dissimilar chromosome groups. Hence it may be argued that even where a constancy exists it may be superficial and not dependent upon, or significant of, a likeness in genetic constitution of similar chromosomes. In fact, very little is known as to how far morphological criteria are trustworthy as indications of homology between chromosomes. In one case recently investigated by Lancefield and Metz ( 1921, 1922), the results indicate that genetic homology does not correspond to morphological similarity as regards two pairs of chromosomes in Drosophila willistoni compared with two similar pairs in D. melanogaster.

These and other considerations serve to emphasize the necessity of learning something of the genetic constitution of chromosomes before they can safely be compared from the evolutionary standpoint. It is believed that the only method of obtaining reliable information on chromosome evolution is by means of genetic analysis combined with cytological observation.

Ideal material for such a study would be provided by a group of species satisfying the following four requirements: In the first place, it should exhibit among its members a series of different chromosome groups; secondly, the species should be susceptible to intensive breeding under controlled conditions; in the third place, one or more of the species should be favorable for genetic analysis through the study of mutant races; and lastly, the species should hybridize with one another and give fertile hybrids.

However, an excellent foundation for such an investigation was provided by the well-known observations on D. melanogaster; and since a study of this kind promised to be of interest in several additional respects, it was undertaken.

It should be noted at this point that Dr. Sturtevant has recently succeeded in hybridizing D. melanogaster and D. simulans ( Sturtevant, 1920) with very interesting results. For the purposes outlined above, however, the possibilities here are limited. The two species are almost identical and appear to have identical chromosome groups, and in addition the F1 hybrids are sterile, so that only mutant . . .

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