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Genetics. 2002 Jan;160(1):247-56.

Chromosomal patterns of microsatellite variability contrast sharply in African and non-African populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Institut für Tierzucht und Genetik, 1210 Wien, Austria.


Levels of neutral variation are influenced by background selection and hitchhiking. The relative contribution of these evolutionary forces to the distribution of neutral variation is still the subject of ongoing debates. Using 133 microsatellites, we determined levels of variability on X chromosomes and autosomes in African and non-African D. melanogaster populations. In the ancestral African populations microsatellite variability was higher on X chromosomes than on autosomes. In non-African populations X-linked polymorphism is significantly more reduced than autosomal variation. In non-African populations we observed a significant positive correlation between X chromosomal polymorphism and recombination rate. These results are consistent with the interpretation that background selection shapes levels of neutral variability in the ancestral populations, while the pattern in derived populations is determined by multiple selective sweeps during the colonization process. Further research, however, is required to investigate the influence of inversion polymorphisms and unequal sex ratios.

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