Postmating reproductive isolation is often manifested as hybrid male sterility, for which X-linked genes are over-represented (the so-called large X effect). In contrast, X-linked genes are significantly under-represented among testis-expressing genes. This seeming contradiction may be germane to the X:autosome imbalance hypothesis on hybrid sterility, in which the X-linked effect is mediated mainly through the misexpression of autosomal genes. In this study, we compared gene expression in fertile and sterile males in the hybrids between two Drosophila species. These hybrid males differ only in a small region of the X chromosome containing the Ods-site homeobox (OdsH) (also known as Odysseus) locus of hybrid sterility. Of genes expressed in the testis, autosomal genes were, indeed, more likely to be misexpressed than X-linked genes under the sterilizing action of OdsH. Since this mechanism of X:autosome interaction is only associated with spermatogenesis, a connection between X:autosome imbalance and the high rate of hybrid male sterility seems plausible.
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