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Mol Biol Evol. 1993 Jul;10(4):804-22.

Population genetics and phylogenetics of DNA sequence variation at multiple loci within the Drosophila melanogaster species complex.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08855.


Two regions of the genome, a 1-kbp portion of the zeste locus and a 1.1-kbp portion of the yolk protein 2 locus, were sequenced in six individuals from each of four species: Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans, D. mauritiana, and D. sechellia. The species and strains were the same as those of a previous study of a 1.9-kbp region of the period locus. No evidence was found for recent balancing or directional selection or for the accumulation of selected differences between species. Yolk protein 2 has a high level of amino acid replacement variation and a low level of synonymous variation, while zeste has the opposite pattern. This contrast is consistent with information on gene function and patterns of codon bias. Polymorphism levels are consistent with a ranking of effective population sizes, from low to high, in the following order: D. sechellia, D. melanogaster, D.mauritiana, and D. simulans. The apparent species relationships are very similar to those suggested by the period locus study. In particular, D. simulans appears to be a large population that is still segregating variation that arose before the separation of D. mauritiana and D. sechellia. It is estimated that the separation of ancestral D. melanogaster from the other species occurred 2.5-3.4 Mya. The separations of D. sechellia and D. mauritiana from ancestral D. simulans appear to have occurred 0.58-0.86 Mya, with D. mauritiana having diverged from ancestral D. simulans 0.1 Myr more recently than D. sechellia.

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