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PLoS One. 2011 Mar 10;6(3):e17512. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017512.

Drosophila genes that affect meiosis duration are among the meiosis related genes that are more often found duplicated.

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Instituto de Biologia Celular e Molecular (IBMC), University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.


Using a phylogenetic approach, the examination of 33 meiosis/meiosis-related genes in 12 Drosophila species, revealed nine independent gene duplications, involving the genes cav, mre11, meiS332, polo and mtrm. Evidence is provided that at least eight out of the nine gene duplicates are functional. Therefore, the rate at which Drosophila meiosis/meiosis-related genes are duplicated and retained is estimated to be 0.0012 per gene per million years, a value that is similar to the average for all Drosophila genes. It should be noted that by using a phylogenetic approach the confounding effect of concerted evolution, that is known to lead to overestimation of the duplication and retention rate, is avoided. This is an important issue, since even in our moderate size sample, evidence for long-term concerted evolution (lasting for more than 30 million years) was found for the meiS332 gene pair in species of the Drosophila subgenus. Most striking, in contrast to theoretical expectations, is the finding that genes that encode proteins that must follow a close stoichiometric balance, such as polo, mtrm and meiS332 have been found duplicated. The duplicated genes may be examples of gene neofunctionalization. It is speculated that meiosis duration may be a trait that is under selection in Drosophila and that it has different optimal values in different species.

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