Journal of Experimental Biology
About 1% of male mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) express melanic (mottled-black) body coloration, which differs dramatically from the wild-type, silvery-gray coloration. Here, I report on the genetic inheritance pattern of melanic coloration, which indicates Y-linkage, and at least one autosomal modifier. Phenotypic expression of melanism is also affected by temperature. Expression is constitutive ( temperature insensitive) in some populations, inducible ( temperature sensitive) in others. Constitutive and inducible expression occur among geographically proximal populations. However, males from any single population demonstrate the same constitutive or inducible expression pattern as one another. The F1 males from inter-population crosses demonstrate temperature-related expression patterns like their sires'. As well, the sex ratio of melanic males' progeny differs among populations. Here, inter-population crosses demonstrate a sex-ratio bias in the same direction as intra-population crosses of the sire population. About 20% of the male progeny of melanic sires express the wild-type phenotype. These silver F1 males sire only silver offspring, suggestive of loss of the melanin gene in F1 males from crossover between sex chromosomes, or control by additional modifiers, or involvement of additional factors. In nature, melanic males persist at very low frequencies. The data collected here on heritability indicate that genetic factors contribute to the rarity of melanic male mosquitofish.
Original Publication Citation
Horth, L. (2006). A sex-linked allele, autosomal modifiers and temperature-dependence appear to regulate melanism in male mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki). Journal of Experimental Biology, 209(24), 4938-4945. doi:10.1242/jeb.02599
Horth, Lisa, "A Sex-Linked Allele, Autosomal Modifiers and Temperature-Dependence Appear to Regulate Melanism in Male Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)" (2006). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 200.