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Genetics. 2003 Jul;164(3):977-88.

Dntf-2r, a young Drosophila retroposed gene with specific male expression under positive Darwinian selection.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


A direct approach to investigating new gene origination is to examine recently evolved genes. We report a new gene in the Drosophila melanogaster subgroup, Drosophila nuclear transport factor-2-related (Dntf-2r). Its sequence features and phylogenetic distribution indicate that Dntf-2r is a retroposed functional gene and originated in the common ancestor of D. melanogaster, D. simulans, D. sechellia, and D. mauritiana, within the past 3-12 million years (MY). Dntf-2r evolved more rapidly than the parental gene, under positive Darwinian selection as revealed by the McDonald-Kreitman test and other evolutionary analyses. Comparative expression analysis shows that Dntf-2r is male specific whereas the parental gene, Dntf-2, is widely expressed in D. melanogaster. In agreement with its new expression pattern, the Dntf-2r putative promoter sequence is similar to the late testis promoter of beta2-tubulin. We discuss the possibility that the action of positive selection in Dntf-2r is related to its putative male-specific functions.

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