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Genetics. Feb 1993; 133(2): 375–387.
PMCID: PMC1205326

DNA Sequence Variation at the Period Locus within and among Species of the Drosophila Melanogaster Complex


A 1.9-kilobase region of the period locus was sequenced in six individuals of Drosophila melanogaster and from six individuals of each of three sibling species: Drosophila simulans, Drosophila sechellia and Drosophila mauritiana. Extensive genealogical analysis of 174 polymorphic sites reveals a complex history. It appears that D. simulans, as a large population still segregating very old lineages, gave rise to the island species D. mauritiana and D. sechellia. Rather than considering these speciation events as having produced ``sister'' taxa, it seems more appropriate to consider D. simulans a parent species to D. sechellia and D. mauritiana. The order, in time, of these two phylogenetic events remains unclear. D. mauritiana supports a large number of polymorphisms, many of which are shared with D. simulans, and so appears to have begun and persisted as a large population. In contrast, D. sechellia has very little variation and seems to have experienced a severe population bottleneck. Alternatively, the low variation in D. sechellia could be due to recent directional selection and genetic hitchhiking at or near the per locus.

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Selected References

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