Association of misexpression with sterility in hybrids of Drosophila simulansand D. mauritiana.
Recent studies have identified genes associated with hybrid sterility and other hybrid dysfunctions, but the consequences of introgressions of these "speciation genes" are often poorly understood. Previously, we identified a panel of genes that are underexpressed in sterile male hybrids of Drosophila simulans and D. mauritiana relative to pure species. Here, we build on this reverse-genetics approach to demonstrate that the underexpression of at least five of these genes in hybrids is associated with hybrid sterility and that these five genes are coordinately regulated. We map one upstream regulator of these genes to a region previously shown to harbor one or more factors causing hybrid sterility. Finally, we show that the genes underexpressed in hybrids are often highly conserved, as might be predicted for downstream targets of the genetic changes that cause hybrid sterility. This approach integrates forward genetics with reverse genetics to show a proximate consequence of the introgression of particular hybrid sterility-conferring regions between species: underexpression of genes necessary for normal spermatogenesis.
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