The common vole Microtus arvalis (the form obscurus) exhibits polymorphism of a pericentric inversion in chromosome pair 5 throughout the species range. In the Urals populations, the frequency of an acrocentric variant of the heteromorphic chromosome is very low (on average 3.2%) and virtually does not change annually. The factors of maintaining stable chromosomal polymorphism in the common vole were studied under conditions of a laboratory colony. Heterozygous and homozygous for the acrocentric chromosome females showed a significant reduction of the reproductive output irrespective of the male karyotype. This effect was manifested mostly in litter size at birth. A number of cytogenetic and exophenotypic characteristics, as well as parent-offspring transmission of this chromosome in crosses of various types, were examined. We have found meiotic drive in favor of the acrocentric, as a result of which the frequency of the acrocentric (without taking into account the postnatal mortality) totaled over all cross variants (0.48) was significantly higher than that expected with random segregation (0.42). It is likely that meiotic drive of the acrocentric largely compensates for the reduced fertility of its carriers, being among the factors of maintaining it in natural populations.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 15, 2006
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