Haploidy and androgenesis in Drosophila.
Adrogenesis, development from paternal but not maternal chromosomes, can be induced to occur in some organisms, including vertebrates, but has only been reported to occur naturally in interspecific hybrids of the Sicilian stick insect. Androgenesis has not been described previously in Drosophila. We now report the recovery of androgenetic offspring from Drosophila melanogaster females mutant for a gene that affects an oocyte- and embryo-specific alpha-tubulin. The androgenetic exceptions are X,X diploid females that develop from haploid embryos and express paternal markers on all 4 chromosomes. The exceptional females arise by fusion of haploid cleavage nuclei or failure of newly replicated haploid chromosomes to segregate, rather than fusion of two inseminating sperm. The frequency of androgenetic offspring is greatly enhanced by a partial loss-of-function mutant of the NCD (nonclaret disjunctional) microtubule motor protein, suggesting that wild-type NCD functions is pronuclear fusion. Diploidization of haploid paternal chromosome complements results in complete genetic homozygosity, which could facilitate studies of gene variation and mutational load in populations.
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