Meiotic drive is an evolutionary force in which natural selection is uncoupled from organismal fitness. Recently, it has been proposed that meiotic drive and genetic drift represent major forces in the evolution of the mammalian karyotype. Meiotic drive involves two types of genetic elements, Responders and Distorters, the latter being required to induce transmission ratio distortion at the former. We have previously described the Om meiotic drive system in mouse chromosome 11. To investigate the natural history of this drive system we have characterized the alleles present at the distorter in wild-derived inbred strains. Our analysis of transmission of maternal alleles in both classical and wild-derived inbred strains indicated that driving alleles are found at high frequency in natural populations and that the existence of driving alleles predates the split between the Mus spicilegus and M. musculus lineages. © 2005 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2005, 84, 487–492.