Reduced rDNA copy number does not Affect "competitive" chromosome pairing in XYY males of Drosophila melanogaster

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4 Scopus citations


The ribosomal DNA (rDNA) arrays are causal agents in X-Y chromosome pairing in meiosis I of Drosophila males. Despite broad variation in X-linked and Y-linked rDNA copy number, polymorphisms in regulatory/spacer sequences between rRNA genes, and variance in copy number of interrupting R1 and R2 retrotransposable elements, there is little evidence that different rDNA arrays affect pairing efficacy. I investigated whether induced rDNA copy number polymorphisms affect chromosome pairing in a "competitive" situation in which complex pairing configurations were possible using males with XYY constitution. Using a common normal X chromosome, one of two different full-length Y chromosomes, and a third chromosome from a series of otherwise-isogenic rDNA deletions, I detected no differences in X-Y or Y-Y pairing or chromosome segregation frequencies that could not be attributed to random variation alone. This work was performed in the context of an undergraduate teaching program at Texas A&M University, and I discuss the pedagogical utility of this and other such experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-507
Number of pages11
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aneuploidy
  • Drosophila
  • Ribosomal DNA
  • Y chromosome
  • male meiotic/meiosis pairing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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