Articles written in Journal of Genetics

    • Coexistence of three differentDrosophila species by rescheduling their life history traits in a natural population

      Jay P. Yadav Bashisth N. Singh

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      We present evidence for coexistence of three differentDrosophila species by rescheduling their life history traits in a natural population using the same resource, at the same time and same place.D. ananassae has faster larval development time (DT) and faster DT(egg-fly) than other two species thus utilizing the resources at maximum at both larval and adult stages respectively. Therefore,D. ananassae skips the interspecific competition at preadult stage but suffers more from intraspecific competition. However,D. melanogaster andD. biarmipes have rescheduled their various life history traits to avoid interspecific competition. Differences of ranks tests for various life history traits suggest that except for DT(egg-pupa), the difference of ranks is highest for the combination ofD. melanogaster andD. ananassae for all other life history traits. This difference is maintained by tradeoffs between larval development time and pupal period and between pupal period and DT(egg-pupa) inD. ananassae.

    • Species and genetic diversity in the genus Drosophila inhabiting the Indian subcontinent

      Bashisth N. Singh

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      Biodiversity is the sum total of all living things on the earth with particular reference to the profound variety in structure, function and genetic constitution. It includes both number and frequency of species or genes in a given assemblage and the variety of resulting ecosystems in a region. It is usually considered at three different levels: genetic, species and ecological diversities. Genus Drosophila belongs to the family Drosophilidae (class Insecta, order Diptera), characterized by rich species diversity at global level and also in India, which is a megadiverse country. At global level, more than 1500 species have been described and several thousands estimated. Hawaiian Islands are particularly rich in species diversity with more than 500 species which provides a unique opportunity to study evolution in genus Drosophila. About 150 species of Drosophila have been reported from India. Certain species of Drosophila found in India have been investigated for genetic diversity within the species. In this regard, Drosophila ananassae is noteworthy. It is a cosmopolitan and domestic species with common occurrence in India and is endowed with many genetic peculiarities. Population genetics and evolutionary studies in this species have revealed as to how genetic diversity within a species play an important role in adaptation of populations to varying environments. In addition, the work carried on D. melanogaster, D. nasuta, D. bipectinata and certain other species in India has shown that these species vary in degree and pattern of genetic diversity, and have evolved different mechanisms for adjusting to their environments. The ecological adaptations to various kinds of stress studied in certain species of Drosophila inhabiting the Indian subcontinent are also discussed.

    • Sex-specific asymmetry in eye development in interspecific hybrids in the Drosophila bipectinata species complex

      Bashisth N. Singh Parul Banerjee

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    • The genus Drosophila is characterized by a large number of sibling species showing evolutionary significance


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      Mayr (1942) defined sibling species as sympatric forms which are morphologically very similar or indistinguishable, but which possess specific biological characteristics and are reproductively isolated. Another term, cryptic species has also been used for such species. However, this concept changed later. Sibling species are as similar as twins. This category does not necessarily include phylogenetic siblings as members of a superspecies. Since the term sibling species was defined by Mayr, a large number of cases of sibling species pairs/groups have been reported and thus they are widespread in the animal kingdom.However, they seem to be more common in some groups such as insects. In insects, they have been reported in diptera, lepidoptera, coleoptera, orthoptera, hymenoptera and others. Sibling species are widespread among the dipteran insects and as such are well studied because some species are important medically (mosquitoes), genetically (Drosophila) and cytologically(Sciara and Chironomus). The well-studied classical pairs of sibling species in Drosophila are: D. pseudoobscura and D. persimilis, and D. melanogaster and D. simulans. Subsequently, a number of sibling species have been added to these pairs and a large number of other sibling species pairs/groups in different species groups of the genus Drosophila have been reported in literature. The present review briefly summarizes the cases of sibling species pairs/groups in the genus Drosophila with their evolutionary significance.

    • The Drosophila bipectinata species complex: phylogenetic relationship among different members based on chromosomal variations


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      Making interspecific hybridizations, where possible remains an unparalleled option for studying the intricacies of speciation. In the Drosophila bipectinata species complex comprising of four species, namely D. bipectinata, D. parabipectinata, D. malerkotliana and D. pseudoananassae, interspecific hybrids can be obtained in the laboratory, thus bequeathing an ideal opportunity for studying speciation and phylogeny. With the view of investigating the degree of divergence between each species pair, we planned to study the polytene chromosomes of the F1 hybrids, as it would mirror the level of compatibility between the genomes of the parental species. Two sets of crosses were made, one involving homozygous strains of all four species from India and the other including homozygous strains from different places across the globe. Polytene chromosomes of F1 larvae from both sets of crosses had similar configurations. In F1 larvae from crosses involving D. bipectinata, D. parabipectinata and D. malerkotliana, complex configurations (depicting overlapping inversions) could be detected in different arms. However, they were fairly synapsed, indicating that the differences are only at the level of gene arrangements. The polytene chromosomes of larvae obtained by crossing D. pseudoananassae with the other three species were very thin with gross asynapsis in all the arms, demonstrating that the genome of D. pseudoananassae is widely diverged from rest of the species. The overlapping inversions (reflected in complex configuration), are inferred in the light of earlier chromosomal studies performed in this complex.

    • Dobzhansky’s concept of genetic coadaptation: Drosophila ananassae is an exception to this concept


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      Dobzhansky was the first to show that the inversion polymorphism in Drosophila pseudoobscura is subject to natural selection and is a device to cope with the diversity of environments. His extensive work on D. pseudoobscura has revealed interesting phenomena of population genetics. In continuation of his work on this species, he constructed a number of homozygous lines for different gene arrangements in the third chromosome, and while employing these lines in intrapopulation and interpopulation crosses, he quantified the fitness of inversion homokaryotypes and heterokaryotypes. Interestingly, his results showed that heterokaryotypes formed by chromosomes originating from the same geographic area exhibited superiority over the corresponding homokaryotypes. However, superiority of heterokaryotypes was lost in the crosses when chromosomes were derived from different localities. Based on these results, Dobzhansky suggested the concept of genetic coadaptation. According to this concept, ‘in each locality, the chromosomes with different gene arrangements aremutually adjusted or coadapted to yield highly fit inversion heterozygotes through long continued natural selection. However, this adaptive superiority of inversion heterozygotes breaks down in interracial hybridization experimentswhen two gene arrangements are derived from different localities’. This concept has received experimental evidence in its favour on the basis of work done in other species of Drosophila, such as D. willistoni, D. paulistorum, D. pavani and D. bipectinata. In all these species, interracial hybridization led to the loss of superiority of inversion heterozygotes. Further, it has been suggested thatcoadapted polygenic complexes contained in the chromosomes are disrupted as a result of recombination in interstrain crosses. This concept was also tested in D. ananassae, a cosmopolitan and domestic species commonly found in India, while employing three cosmopolitan inversions exhibiting heterotic buffering. In interstrain crosses involving monomorphic and polymorphic strains due tothree cosmopolitan inversions, the persistence of heterosis was observed, which does not support the above-mentioned hypothesis of Dobzhansky. Thus, evidence for coadaptation is lacking in natural populations of D. ananassae, which is considered as an exception to the Dobzhansky’s concept of genetic coadaptation. Thus, heterotic buffering associated with the three cosmopolitan inversions in D. ananassae is not populational heterosis; rather, it appears to be simple luxuriance.

    • Drosophila ananassae: a species characterized by spontaneous male recombination in appreciable frequency


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      Mutation and recombination are primarily responsible for generating the genetic variability in natural populations of microorganisms, plant and animal species including humans. Upon such genetic variations, elemental forces of evolution such as natural selection, random genetic drift and migration operate to bring about micro-evolutionary changes. Recombination or crossing-over produces new combinations of genes due to interchange of corresponding segments between nonsister chromatids of homologous chromosomes, thus, it is an important evolutionary factor. Since the time of T. H. Morgan, Drosophila has been subjected to extensive investigations on crossing over while employing a number of markers, which were used for gene mapping. Interestingly, recombination occurs in females of D. melanogaster but not in males. Later on, male crossing over was investigated in various species and its occurrence was reported in D. melanogaster, D. ananassae, D. simulans, D. willistoni, D. littoralis and D. bipectinata. Recombination occurs at very low rate in all these species except for D. ananassae, which shows spontaneous male crossing over in appreciable frequency, which is meiotic in origin. This unusual phenomenon in D. ananassae is influenced by various genetic factors as well as it shows strain variation as far as frequency of male recombination is concerned. Further, the presence of chiasmata during meiosis in males at a frequency capable of accounting for the observed recombination frequency extends evidence for meiotic origin of recombination in males of D. ananassae.

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