Mechanisms of genetic exchange within the chromosomal inversions of Drosophila pseudoobscura

Stephen W. Schaeffer, Wyatt W. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


We have used the inversion system of Drosophila pseudoobscura to investigate how genetic flux occurs among the gene arrangements. The patterns of nucleotide polymorphism at seven loci were used to infer gene conversion events between pairs of different gene arrangements. We estimate that the average gene conversion tract length is 205 bp and that the average conversion rate is 3.4 × 10-6, which is 2 orders of magnitude greater than the mutation rate. We did not detect gene conversion events between all combinations of gene arrangements even though there was sufficient nucleotide variation for detection and sufficient opportunity for exchanges to occur. Genetic flux across the inverted chromosome resulted in higher levels of differentiation within 0.1 Mb of inversion breakpoints, but a slightly lower level of differentiation in central inverted regions. No gene conversion events were detected within 17 kb of an inversion breakpoint suggesting that the formation of double-strand breaks is reduced near rearrangement breakpoints in heterozygotes. At least one case where selection rather than proximity to an inversion breakpoint is responsible for reduction in polymorphism was identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1729-1739
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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