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G3 (Bethesda). 2013 Jul 8;3(7):1151-63. doi: 10.1534/g3.113.006122.

Molecular population genetics of inversion breakpoint regions in Drosophila pseudoobscura.

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  • 1Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802-5301, USA.


Paracentric inversions in populations can have a profound effect on the pattern and organization of nucleotide variability along a chromosome. Regions near inversion breakpoints are expected to have greater levels of differentiation because of reduced genetic exchange between different gene arrangements whereas central regions in the inverted segments are predicted to have lower levels of nucleotide differentiation due to greater levels of genetic flux among different karyotypes. We used the inversion polymorphism on the third chromosome of Drosophila pseudoobscura to test these predictions with an analysis of nucleotide diversity of 18 genetic markers near and away from inversion breakpoints. We tested hypotheses about how the presence of different chromosomal arrangements affects the pattern and organization of nucleotide variation. Overall, markers in the distal segment of the chromosome had greater levels of nucleotide heterozygosity than markers within the proximal segment of the chromosome. In addition, our results rejected the hypothesis that the breakpoints of derived inversions will have lower levels of nucleotide variability than breakpoints of ancestral inversions, even when strains with gene conversion events were removed. High levels of linkage disequilibrium were observed within all 11 breakpoint regions as well as between the ends of most proximal and distal breakpoints. The central region of the chromosome had the greatest levels of linkage disequilibrium compared with the proximal and distal regions because this is the region that experiences the highest level of recombination suppression. These data do not fully support the idea that genetic exchange is the sole force that influences genetic variation on inverted chromosomes.


Drosophila pseudoobscura; breakpoints; chromosomal inversion; linkage disequilibrium

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