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Genetics. 2007 Nov;177(3):1303-19. Epub 2007 Jul 29.

Positive selection near an inversion breakpoint on the neo-X chromosome of Drosophila americana.

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Department of Biological Sciences and the Roy J. Carver Center for Comparative Genomics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Unique features of heteromorphic sex chromosomes are produced as a consequence of sex-linked transmission. Alternative models concerning the evolution of sex chromosomes can be classified in terms of genetic drift or positive selection being the primary mechanism of divergence between this chromosomal pair. This study examines early changes on a newly acquired chromosomal arm of the X in Drosophila americana, which was derived from a centromeric fusion between the ancestral X and previously autosomal chromosome 4 (element B). Breakpoints of a chromosomal inversion In(4)a, which is restricted to the neo-X, are identified and used to guide a sequence analysis along chromosome 4. Loci flanking the distal breakpoint exhibit patterns of sequence diversity consistent with neutral evolution, yet loci near the proximal breakpoint reveal distinct imprints of positive selection within the neo-X chromosomal class containing In(4)a. Data from six separate positions examined throughout the proximal region reveal a pattern of recent turnover driven by two independent sweeps among chromosomes with the inverted gene arrangement. Selection-mediated establishment of an extended haplotype associated with recombination-suppressing inversions on the neo-X indicates a pattern of active coadaptation apparently initiated by X-linked transmission and potentially sustained by intralocus sexual conflict.

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