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Fly (Austin). 2008 Sep-Oct;2(5):243-6. Epub 2008 Sep 27.

Patterns of natural selection at the Alcohol dehydrogenase gene of Drosophila americana.

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


Similar outcomes are often observed in species exposed to similar selective regimes, but it is unclear how often the same mechanism of adaptive evolution is followed. Here we present an analysis of selection affecting sequence variation in the Alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene of Drosophila americana, a species endemic to a large climate range that has been colonized by D. melanogaster. Unlike D. melanogaster, there is no evidence of selection on allozymes of ADH across the sampled range. This indicates that if there has been a similar adaptive response to climate in D. americana, it is not within the coding region of Adh. Instead, analyses of a combined dataset containing 86 alleles of Adh reveal purifying selection on the Adh gene, especially within its intron sequences. Frequency spectra of derived unpreferred variants at synonymous sites indicate that these sites are affected by weak purifying selection, but the deviation from neutrality is less drastic than observed for derived variants in noncoding introns. This contrast further supports the notion that noncoding sites in Drosophila are often subject to stronger selection pressures than synonymous sites.

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