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Genetics. Mar 2003; 163(3): 939–953.
PMCID: PMC1462491

Evidence for inversion polymorphism related to sympatric host race formation in the apple maggot fly, Rhagoletis pomonella.


Evidence suggests that the apple maggot, Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) is undergoing sympatric speciation (i.e., divergence without geographic isolation) in the process of shifting and adapting to a new host plant. Prior to the introduction of cultivated apples (Malus pumila) in North America, R. pomonella infested the fruit of native hawthorns (Crataegus spp.). However, sometime in the mid-1800s the fly formed a sympatric race on apple. The recently derived apple-infesting race shows consistent allele frequency differences from the hawthorn host race for six allozyme loci mapping to three different chromosomes. Alleles at all six of these allozymes correlate with the timing of adult eclosion, an event dependent on the duration of the overwintering pupal diapause. This timing difference differentially adapts the univoltine fly races to an approximately 3- to 4-week difference in the peak fruiting times of apple and hawthorn trees, partially reproductively isolating the host races. Here, we report finding substantial gametic disequilibrium among allozyme and complementary DNA (cDNA) markers encompassing the three chromosomal regions differentiating apple and hawthorn flies. The regions of disequilibrium extend well beyond the previously characterized six allozyme loci, covering substantial portions of chromosomes 1, 2, and 3 (haploid n = 6 in R. pomonella). Moreover, significant recombination heterogeneity and variation in gene order were observed among single-pair crosses for each of the three genomic regions, implying the existence of inversion polymorphism. We therefore have evidence that genes affecting diapause traits involved in host race formation reside within large complexes of rearranged genes. We explore whether these genomic regions (inversions) constitute coadapted gene complexes and discuss the implications of our findings for sympatric speciation in Rhagoletis.

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Selected References

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