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Genetics. 1999 Dec;153(4):1743-51.

Insights into genome differentiation: pheromone-binding protein variation and population history in the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis).

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. cwillett@ucsd.edu


Examination of sequence variation at nuclear loci can give insights into population history and gene flow that cannot be derived from other commonly used molecular markers, such as allozymes. Here, we report on sequence variation at a single nuclear locus, the pheromone-binding protein (PBP) locus, in the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis). The European corn borer has been divided into three races in New York State on the basis of differences in pheromone communication and life history. Previous allozyme data have suggested that there is a small but significant amount of genetic differentiation between these races. The PBP does not appear to be involved in the pheromone differences between these races. Examination of variation at the PBP locus in the three races reveals no fixed differences between races despite high levels of polymorphism. There also appears to have been considerable recombination in the history of the pheromone-binding protein alleles. Observation of both recombination between alleles and lack of significant nucleotide or insertion/deletion divergence between races leads us to suggest that these populations are either recently diverged or have continued to exchange genetic material subsequent to divergence in pheromone communication and life history.

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