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Genetics. Jun 2004; 167(2): 725–735.
PMCID: PMC1470896

Molecular population genetics of male accessory gland proteins in the Drosophila simulans complex.


Accessory gland proteins are a major component of Drosophila seminal fluid. These proteins have a variety of functions and may be subject to sexual selection and/or antagonistic evolution between the sexes. Most population genetic data from these proteins are from D. melanogaster and D. simulans. Here, we extend the population genetic analysis of Acp genes to the other simulans complex species, D. mauritiana and D. sechellia. We sequenced population samples of seven Acp's from D. mauritiana, D. sechellia, and D. simulans. We investigated the population genetics of these genes on individual simulans complex lineages and compared Acp polymorphism and divergence to polymorphism and divergence from a set of non-Acp loci in the same species. Polymorphism and divergence data from the simulans complex revealed little evidence for adaptive protein evolution at individual loci. However, we observed a dramatically inflated index of dispersion for amino acid substitutions in the simulans complex at Acp genes, but not at non-Acp genes. This pattern of episodic bursts of protein evolution in Acp's provides the strongest evidence to date that the population genetic mechanisms driving Acp divergence are different from the mechanisms driving evolution at most Drosophila genes.

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