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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2012 Aug 19;367(1600):2357-75. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0287.

Gene duplication, tissue-specific gene expression and sexual conflict in stalk-eyed flies (Diopsidae).

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Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA.


Gene duplication provides an essential source of novel genetic material to facilitate rapid morphological evolution. Traits involved in reproduction and sexual dimorphism represent some of the fastest evolving traits in nature, and gene duplication is intricately involved in the origin and evolution of these traits. Here, we review genomic research on stalk-eyed flies (Diopsidae) that has been used to examine the extent of gene duplication and its role in the genetic architecture of sexual dimorphism. Stalk-eyed flies are remarkable because of the elongation of the head into long stalks, with the eyes and antenna laterally displaced at the ends of these stalks. Many species are strongly sexually dimorphic for eyespan, and these flies have become a model system for studying sexual selection. Using both expressed sequence tag and next-generation sequencing, we have established an extensive database of gene expression in the developing eye-antennal imaginal disc, the adult head and testes. Duplicated genes exhibit narrower expression patterns than non-duplicated genes, and the testes, in particular, provide an abundant source of gene duplication. Within somatic tissue, duplicated genes are more likely to be differentially expressed between the sexes, suggesting gene duplication may provide a mechanism for resolving sexual conflict.

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