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Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2293-305. Epub 2007 May 16.

Patterns of molecular variation and evolution in Drosophila americana and its relatives.

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Grupo de Medicina Xenómica, Instituto de Medicina Legal, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Rúa de San Francisco s/n, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


We present the results of a survey of DNA sequence variability at X-linked and autosomal loci in Drosophila americana and of patterns of DNA sequence evolution among D. americana and four other related species in the virilis group of Drosophila. D. americana shows a typical level of silent polymorphism for a Drosophila species, but has an unusually low ratio of nonsynonymous to silent variation. Both D. virilis and D. americana also show a low ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions along their respective lineages since the split from their common ancestor. The proportion of amino acid substitutions between D. americana and its relatives that are caused by positive selection, as estimated by extensions of the McDonald-Kreitman test, appears to be unusually high. We cannot, however, exclude the possibility that this reflects a recent increase in the intensity of selection on nonsynonymous mutations in D. americana and D. virilis. We also find that base composition at neutral sites appears to be in overall equilibrium among these species, but there is evidence for departure from equilibrium for codon usage in some lineages.

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