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Genetics. 2006 Mar;172(3):1675-81. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Recently evolved genes identified from Drosophila yakuba and D. erecta accessory gland expressed sequence tags.

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Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


The fraction of the genome associated with male reproduction in Drosophila may be unusually dynamic. For example, male reproduction-related genes show higher-than-average rates of protein divergence and gene expression evolution compared to most Drosophila genes. Drosophila male reproduction may also be enriched for novel genetic functions. Our earlier work, based on accessory gland protein genes (Acp's) in D. simulans and D. melanogaster, suggested that the melanogaster subgroup Acp's may be lost and/or gained on a relatively rapid timescale. Here we investigate this possibility more thoroughly through description of the accessory gland transcriptome in two melanogaster subgroup species, D. yakuba and D. erecta. A genomic analysis of previously unknown genes isolated from cDNA libraries of these species revealed several cases of genes present in one or both species, yet absent from ingroup and outgroup species. We found no evidence that these novel genes are attributable primarily to duplication and divergence, which suggests the possibility that Acp's or other genes coding for small proteins may originate from ancestrally noncoding DNA.

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