Reduced reproductive success in Drosophila melanogaster from radioactively contaminated regions of Ukraine
Aim. The goal of our study was to assess the effect of background radiation on the reproductive system of wild Drosophila melanogaster from Ukraine. Methods. In the present study we addressed the fertility and gonadal dysgenesis in the progeny of wild caught females from each of the studied populations. Fertility was measured as the average number of progeny of 30 females using analysis of variance and Tukey’s multiple comparisons method. Gonadal asymmetry was assessed in 50 individuals of each sex by the non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis test. Results. Populations from Chornobyl and those collected nearby the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant cooling pond demonstrated the lowest fertility. The degree of donadal dysgenesis showed a weak correlation with the level of radioactive contamination. Conclusion. Our results support the hypothesis that chronic radiation leads to aberrant development of gonads and reduced fertility in populations from radioactively contaminated areas.
Key words: natural populations, fertility, gonadal dysgenesis, Drosophila melanogaster.