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G3 (Bethesda). 2016 Sep 8;6(9):2955-62. doi: 10.1534/g3.116.032029.

Sensitivity of Allelic Divergence to Genomic Position: Lessons from the Drosophila tan Gene.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.
2
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.
3
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 wittkopp@umich.edu.

Abstract

To identify genetic variants underlying changes in phenotypes within and between species, researchers often utilize transgenic animals to compare the function of alleles in different genetic backgrounds. In Drosophila, targeted integration mediated by the ΦC31 integrase allows activity of alternative alleles to be compared at the same genomic location. By using the same insertion site for each transgene, position effects are generally assumed to be controlled for because both alleles are surrounded by the same genomic context. Here, we test this assumption by comparing the activity of tan alleles from two Drosophila species, D. americana and D. novamexicana, at five different genomic locations in D. melanogaster We found that the relative effects of these alleles varied among insertion sites, with no difference in activity observed between them at two sites. One of these sites simply silenced both transgenes, but the other allowed expression of both alleles that was sufficient to rescue a mutant phenotype yet failed to reveal the functional differences between the two alleles. These results suggest that more than one insertion site should be used when comparing the activity of transgenes because failing to do so could cause functional differences between alleles to go undetected.

KEYWORDS:

allele-specific; pigmentation; position effect; tan; transgenic analysis

PMID:
27449514
PMCID:
PMC5015952
DOI:
10.1534/g3.116.032029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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