Testing transposable elements as genetic drive mechanisms using Drosophila P element constructs as a model system

Claudia M.A. Carareto, Wook Kim, Martin F. Wojciechowski, Patrick O'Grady, Alla V. Prokchorova, Joana C. Silva, Margaret G. Kidwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The use of transposable elements (TEs) as genetic drive mechanisms was explored using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. Alternative strategies, employing autonomous and nonautonomous P element constructs were compared for their efficiency in driving the ry+ allele into populations homozygous for a ry- allele at the genomic rosy locus. Transformed flies were introduced at 1%, 5%, and 10% starting frequencies to establish a series of populations that were monitored over the course of 40 generations, using both phenotypic and molecular assays. The transposon-borne ry+ marker allele spread rapidly in almost all populations when introduced at 5% and 10% seed frequencies, but 1% introductions frequently failed to become established. A similar initial rapid increase in frequency of the ry+ transposon occurred in several control populations lacking a source of transposase. Constructs carrying ry+ markers also increased to moderate frequencies in the absence of selection on the marker. The results of Southern and in situ hybridization studies indicated a strong inverse relationship between the degree of conservation of construct integrity and transposition frequency. These finding have relevance to possible future applications of transposons as genetic drive mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-33
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • P elements
  • Population studies
  • Transposable elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science


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