Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cell Rep. 2012 Feb 23;1(2):118-32. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2011.12.010. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Frequent recent origination of brain genes shaped the evolution of foraging behavior in Drosophila.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolution, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The evolution of the brain and behavior are coupled puzzles. The genetic bases for brain evolution are widely debated, yet whether newly evolved genes impact the evolution of the brain and behavior is vaguely understood. Here, we show that during recent evolution in Drosophila, new genes have frequently acquired neuronal expression, particularly in the mushroom bodies. Evolutionary signatures combined with expression profiling showed that natural selection influenced the evolution of young genes expressed in the brain, notably in mushroom bodies. Case analyses showed that two young retrogenes are expressed in the olfactory circuit and facilitate foraging behavior. Comparative behavioral analysis revealed divergence in foraging behavior between species. Our data suggest that during adaptive evolution, new genes gain expression in specific brain structures and evolve new functions in neural circuits, which might contribute to the phenotypic evolution of animal behavior.

Copyright © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk