Studies on hybrid sterility

I. Spermatogenesis in pure and hybrid Drosophila pseudoobscura
  • Th. Dobzhansky


  1. 1.

    Spermatogenesis in males of the pure races of Drosophila pseudoobscura is described. No difference is observed between A and B races, except that their Y-chromosomes have different shapes.

  2. 2.

    A ♀ x B ♂ hybrids preserve the general structural plan of the testis characteristic for normal males. Spermatogonia and young first spermatocytes are nearly normal. At diakinesis a part of the chromosomes remain unpaired. The spindle of the first meiotic division elongates enormously. The cell body fails to divide. The second meiotic division is absent. Large worm-like spermatids are produced.

  3. 3.

    The frequency of bivalent formation at meiosis is higher in weak A ♀ x weak B ♂ hybrids than in strong A ♀ x strong B ♂ hybrids.

  4. 4.

    Testes of B ♀ x A ♂ hybrids are filled mostly by cell debris resulting from the degeneration of the spermatids. Spermatogonia and first spermatocytes are less numerous than in testis of normal males. Usually no bivalents appear at meiosis. One, two, or more nuclei are produced as a result of the highly abnormal first meiotic division. The cytoplasm does not divide. The second meiotic division is absent. Rounded or slightly elongate spermatids are produced.

  5. 5.

    In strong B ♀ x strong A ♂ hybrids the spermatids undergo several supernumerary divisions that are not accompanied by a fission of the cytoplasm. Cells containing very many chromosomes (up to 32 N) are the result.

  6. 6.

    In normal males meiosis takes place in groups of 32 cells; in A ♀ x B ♂ hybrids the corresponding figure is 32 or 16; in B ♀ x A ♂ hybrids it is 16, 8 or 4. It is suggested that the abnormalities observed in the spermatogenesis of the hybrids may be due to a precocious onset of meiosis.



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1934

Authors and Affiliations

  • Th. Dobzhansky
    • 1
  1. 1.W. G. Kerckhoff LaboratoriesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadena

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