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Genetics. 1996 Nov;144(3):1015-25.

DNA sequence variation at the period locus reveals the history of species and speciation events in the Drosophila virilis group.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08855-1059, USA.


The virilis phylad of the Drosophila virilis group consists of five closely related taxa: D. virilis, D. lummei, D. novamexicana, D. americana americana and D. americana texana. DNA sequences from a 2.1-kb pair portion of the period locus were generated in four to eight individuals from each of the five taxa. We found evidence of recombination and high levels of variation within species. We found no evidence of recent natural selection. Surprisingly there was no evidence of divergence between D. a. americana and D. a. texana, and they collectively appear to have had a large historical effective population size. The ranges of these two taxa overlap in a large hybrid zone that has been delineated in the eastern U.S. on the basis of the geographic pattern of a chromosomal fusion. Also surprisingly, D. novamexicana appears to consist of two distinct groups each with low population size and no gene flow between them.

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