The period gene is a key regulator of biological rhythmicity in Drosophila melanogaster. The central part of the gene encodes a dipeptide Thr-Gly repeat that has been implicated in the evolution of both circadian and ultradian rhythms. We have previously observed that length variation in the repeat follows a latitudinal cline in Europe and North Africa, so we have sought to extend this observation to the southern hemisphere. We observe a parallel cline in Australia for one of the two major length variants and find higher levels of some Thr-Gly length variants, particularly at the tropical latitudes, that are extremely rare in Europe. In addition we examined >40 haplotypes from sub-Saharan Africa and find a very different and far more variable profile of Thr-Gly sequences. Statistical analysis of the periodicity and codon content of the repeat from all three continents reveals a possible mechanism that may explain how the repeat initially arose in the ancestors of the D. melanogaster subgroup of species. Our results further reinforce the view that thermal selection may have contributed to shaping the continental patterns of Thr-Gly variability.

The period gene Thr-Gly polymorphism in Australian and African Drosophila melanogaster populations: Implications for selection

SANDRELLI, FEDERICA;COSTA, RODOLFO;
2006

Abstract

The period gene is a key regulator of biological rhythmicity in Drosophila melanogaster. The central part of the gene encodes a dipeptide Thr-Gly repeat that has been implicated in the evolution of both circadian and ultradian rhythms. We have previously observed that length variation in the repeat follows a latitudinal cline in Europe and North Africa, so we have sought to extend this observation to the southern hemisphere. We observe a parallel cline in Australia for one of the two major length variants and find higher levels of some Thr-Gly length variants, particularly at the tropical latitudes, that are extremely rare in Europe. In addition we examined >40 haplotypes from sub-Saharan Africa and find a very different and far more variable profile of Thr-Gly sequences. Statistical analysis of the periodicity and codon content of the repeat from all three continents reveals a possible mechanism that may explain how the repeat initially arose in the ancestors of the D. melanogaster subgroup of species. Our results further reinforce the view that thermal selection may have contributed to shaping the continental patterns of Thr-Gly variability.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2439337
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