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Proc Biol Sci. 2002 Dec 7;269(1508):2467-72.

The period gene and allochronic reproductive isolation in Bactrocera cucurbitae.

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Laboratory of Animal Population Ecology, Faculty of Agriculture, Okayama University, Tsushima-naka 1-1-1, Okayama 700-8530, Japan.


Clock genes that pleiotropically control circadian rhythm and the time of mating may cause allochronic reproductive isolation in the melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Flies with a shorter circadian period (ca. 22 h of locomotor activity rhythm) mated 5 h earlier in the day than those with a longer circadian period (ca. 30 h). Mate-choice tests demonstrated significant pre-mating isolation between populations with short and long circadian periods. Pre-mating isolation did not occur when the mating time was synchronized between the two populations by photoperiodic controls, indicating that reproductive isolation is due to variations in the time of mating and not any unidentified ethological difference between the two populations. We cloned the period (per) gene of B. cucurbitae that is homologous to the per gene in Drosophila. The relative level of per mRNA in the melon fly exhibited a robust daily fluctuation under light : dark conditions. The fluctuation of per expression under dark : dark conditions is closely correlated to the locomotor rhythm in B. cucurbitae. These results suggest that clock genes can cause reproductive isolation via the pleiotropic effect as a change of mating time.

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