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Logo of nihpaAbout Author manuscriptsSubmit a manuscriptNIH Public Access; Author Manuscript; Accepted for publication in peer reviewed journal;
Mol Ecol. Author manuscript; available in PMC Mar 3, 2009.
Published in final edited form as:
PMCID: PMC2650379
NIHMSID: NIHMS92710

The genetic basis of adaptive pigmentation variation in Drosophila melanogaster

Abstract

In a broad survey of Drosophila melanogaster population samples, levels of abdominal pigmentation were found to be highly variable and geographically differentiated. A strong positive correlation was found between dark pigmentation and high altitude, suggesting adaptation to specific environments. DNA sequence polymorphism at the candidate gene ebony revealed a clear association with the pigmentation of homozygous third chromosome lines. The darkest lines sequenced had nearly identical haplotypes spanning 14.5 kilobases upstream of the protein-coding exons of ebony. Thus, natural selection may have elevated the frequency of an allele that confers dark abdominal pigmentation by influencing the regulation of ebony.

Keywords: Ecological adaptation, abdominal pigmentation, ebony, partial selective sweep, Drosophila melanogaster, sub-Saharan populations
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