Genetic load caused by variation in the amount of rDNA in a wasp
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Extensive variation in the size of the short (heterochromatic) arm of chromosome 14 was found in the wasp Trypoxylon (Trypargilum) albitarse. Ten different variants were differentiated by size and C-banding pattern. Fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) revealed that ribosomal DNA in this species is clustered in the darkly C-banded parts of the heterochromatic short arm of chromosome 14. On this basis, we got an indirect estimate of the amount of rDNA from the area of these dark C-bands. The significant absence in males of the three chromosome variants with lower amounts of rDNA indicates that these three variants are lethal in this sex, and suggests the existence of a threshold marking the minimum amount of rDNA which is tolerable in haploidy. This implies about 4% genetic load in the population caused by variation in rDNA amount.
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