Transmission ratio distortion in the human body louse, Pediculus humanus (Insecta: Phthiraptera)

C. J. McMeniman, S. C. Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We studied inheritance at three microsatellite loci in eight F1 and two F2 families of the body (clothes) louse of humans, Pediculus humanus. The alleles of heterozygous female-parents were always inherited in a Mendelian fashion in these families. Alleles from heterozygous male-parents, however, were inherited in two different ways: (i) in a Mendelian fashion and (ii) in a non-Mendelian fashion, where males passed to their offspring only one of their two alleles, that is, 100% nonrandom transmission. In male body lice, where there was non-Mendelian inheritance, the paternally inherited set of alleles was eliminated. We interpret this pattern of inheritance as evidence for extreme transmission ratio distortion of paternal alleles in this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Lice
  • Meiotic drive
  • Non-Mendelian inheritance
  • Segregation distortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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