There are two genes involved in this fruit fly problem, one that controls creation of pigment, and another that controls the color of the pigment. Mutant flies that have no enzyme activity will have a brownish eye color because of a red eye pigment deficiency. Red pigment production requires a functional protein encoded by the white locus. Individuals with two copies of the w allele (ww) lack any red eye color pigment; individuals with at least one wild type (W-) have pigment. There is a bw allele at a brown locus that produces a defective enzyme responsible for converting one type of pigment to another. Individuals with two bw alleles have brown eyes; individuals with at least one wild-type allele at the brown locus have normal red eyes (assuming that they have eye pigment). Why is the white locus epistatic to the brown locus?
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