Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Rapid spread of an inherited incompatibility factor in California Drosophila


IN Drosophila simulans in California, an inherited cytoplasmic incompatibility factor reduces egg hatch when infected males mate with uninfected females1–7. The infection is spreading at a rate of more than 100km per year; populations in which the infection was rare have become almost completely infected within three years. Analyses of the spread using estimates of selection in the field suggest dispersal distances far higher than those found by direct observation of flies. Hence, occasional long-distance dispersal, possibly coupled with local extinction and recolonization, may be important to the dynamics. Incompatibility factors that can readily spread through natural populations may be useful for population manipulation and important as a post-mating isolating mechanism.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Hoffmann, A. A., Turelli, M. & Simmons, G. M. Evolution 40, 692–701 (1986).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Hoffmann, A. A. & Turelli, M. Genetics 119, 435–444 (1988).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Hoffmann, A. A., Turelli, M. & Harshman, L. G. Genetics 126, 933–948 (1990).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Binnington, K. C. & Hoffmann, A. A. J. Invertebr. Path. 54, 344–352 (1989).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Louis, C. & Nigro, L. J. Invertebr. Path. 54, 34–44 (1989).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Nigro, L. & Prout, T. Genetics 125, 551–555 (1990).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. O'Neill, S. L. & Karr, T. L. Nature 348, 178–180 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Caspari, E. & Watson, G. S. Evolution 13, 568–570 (1959).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Fine, P. E. M. J. Invertebr. Path. 30, 10–18 (1978).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Subbarao, S. K. in Recent Developments in the Genetics of Insect Disease Vectors (eds Steiner, W. W. et al.) 313–342 (Stipes, Champaign, Illinois, 1982).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Leu, S.-Y. C., Li, J. K.-K. & Hsiao, T. H. J. Invertebr. Path. 54, 248–258 (1989).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hoffmann, A. A. Entomologia exp. appl. 48, 61–67 (1988).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Skinner, S. W. Genetics 109, 745–759 (1985).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Stevens, L. J. Invertebr. Path. 53, 78–84 (1989).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Kellen, W. R., Hoffman, D. F. & Kwock, R. A. J. Invertebr. Path. 37, 273–283 (1981).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Noda, H. Entomologia exp. appl. 35, 263–267 (1984).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Fisher, R. A. Ann. Eugen. 7, 355–369 (1937).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Barton, N. H. Heredity 43, 341–359 (1979).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Murray, J. D. Mathematical Biology (Springer, Berlin, 1989).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  20. Jones, J. S., Coyne, J. A. & Partridge, L. Am. Nat. 130, 83–90 (1987).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Jones, J. S. et al. Genetics 98, 157–178 (1981).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  22. Coyne, J. A. et al. Am. Nat. 119, 589–595 (1982).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Turelli, M. et al. Dros. Inf. Serv. 63, 131–132 (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  24. Coyne, J. A. & Milstead, B. Am. Nat. 130, 70–82 (1987).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Slatkin M. A. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 16, 393–430 (1985).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Hale, L. R. & Hoffmann, A. A. Evolution 44, 1383–1386 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Fleuriet, A. Evol. Biol. 23, 1–30 (1988).

    Google Scholar 

  28. Gressel, J. in Pesticide Resistance: Strategies and Tactics for Management (eds Glass, E. H. et al.) 54–73 (National Academy, Washington, DC, 1986).

    Google Scholar 

  29. Breeuwer, J. A. J. & Werren, J. H. Nature 346, 558–560 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Turelli, M., Hoffmann, A. Rapid spread of an inherited incompatibility factor in California Drosophila. Nature 353, 440–442 (1991).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing