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Hereditas. 2000;132(1):67-78.

Genomic organisation of the neural sex determination gene fruitless (fru) in the Hawaiian species Drosophila silvestris and the conservation of the fru BTB protein-protein-binding domain throughout evolution.

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Yamamoto Behavior Genes Project, ERATO, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Gilmore, Honolulu, USA.

Erratum in

  • Hereditas 2000;133(3):266.


We report the cloning and sequencing of the fru gene from the Hawaiian picture-wing species Drosophila silvestris. The fru gene has seven exons spanning 15-kb encoding two transcripts with ORFs of 841 and 695 amino acids. The protein encoded by the fruA transcript is well conserved with the D. melanogaster type A protein, particularly the BTB protein-protein-binding domain, which is encoded by exons I and II and is 100% conserved. The peptide encoded by exon III has several sequence differences but these are confined mostly to regions of repetitive sequence and exons IV to VI are well conserved. The peptide encoded by exon VII is semi-conserved for the 5' end and 100% conserved for the Zinc finger domains; the rest of the peptide is virtually unconserved. The FRUA protein has a BTB domain and two zinc finger domains whereas the FRUC protein only has the BTB domain. The genomic DNA sequence encoding the BTB domain of the fru gene has been cloned from 21 species of Diptera. The protein-coding sequence is highly conserved and the amino acid sequence is identical except for two changes in the Tephritidae. The intron sequences are completely unconserved except between very closely related species such as the Hawaiian Drosophila. The phylogeny produced using the BTB exon sequences suggests that the most closely related mainland Drosophila species to the Hawaiian clade is D. moriwakii of the melanica species group. The phylogeny also shows that the Scaptomyza are closely related to the Hawaiian Drosophila so supporting a Hawaiian origin for the Scaptomyza. The genus Zaprionus is placed in the subgenus Drosophila closely related to D. immigrans along with the genera Samoaia and Liodrosophila.

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