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Mol Biol Evol. 2009 Sep;26(9):1949-61. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msp107. Epub 2009 May 20.

A recent adaptive transposable element insertion near highly conserved developmental loci in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, Stanford University.


A recent genomewide screen identified 13 transposable elements that are likely to have been adaptive during or after the spread of Drosophila melanogaster out of Africa. One of these insertions, Bari-Juvenile hormone epoxy hydrolase (Bari-Jheh), was associated with the selective sweep of its flanking neutral variation and with reduction of expression of one of its neighboring genes: Jheh3. Here, we provide further evidence that Bari-Jheh insertion is adaptive. We delimit the extent of the selective sweep and show that Bari-Jheh is the only mutation linked to the sweep. Bari-Jheh also lowers the expression of its other flanking gene, Jheh2. Subtle consequences of Bari-Jheh insertion on life-history traits are consistent with the effects of reduced expression of the Jheh genes. Finally, we analyze molecular evolution of Jheh genes in both the long- and the short-term and conclude that Bari-Jheh appears to be a very rare adaptive event in the history of these genes. We discuss the implications of these findings for the detection and understanding of adaptation.

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