There is mounting evidence consistent with a general role of positive selection acting on the Drosophila melanogaster X-chromosome. However, this positive selection need not necessarily arise from forces that are adaptive to the organism. Nonadaptive meiotic drive may exist on the X-chromosome and contribute to forces of selection. Females from a reference D. melanogaster line, containing the X-linked marker white, were crossed to males from 49 isofemale lines established from seven African and five non-African natural populations to detect naturally occurring meiotic drive. Several lines exhibited a departure from expected Mendelian transmission of X-chromosomes to the third generation (F2) offspring, particularly those from hybrid African male parents. F2 viability was not correlated with skewed chromosomal inheritance. However, a significant difference in viability between cosmopolitan and tropical African crosses was observed. Recombination analysis supports the presence of a male-acting meiotic drive element near the centromeric region of the X-chromosome and putative recessive autosomal drive suppression. There is also evidence of another female-acting drive element linked to white. The possible role meiotic drive may contribute in shaping levels of genetic variation in D. melanogaster, and additional ways to test this hypothesis are discussed.
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Vol. 59 • No. 6