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Title: Molecular evolution of a pervasive natural amino-acid substitution in Drosophila cryptochrome
Authors: Pegoraro, Mirko
Noreen, Shumaila
Bhutani, Supriya
Tsolou, Avgi
Schmid, Ralf
Kyriacou, Charalambos P.
Tauber, Eran
First Published: 24-Jan-2014
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: PLoS ONE, 2014, 9 (1), e86483
Abstract: Genetic variations in circadian clock genes may serve as molecular adaptations, allowing populations to adapt to local environments. Here, we carried out a survey of genetic variation in Drosophila cryptochrome (cry), the fly’s dedicated circadian photoreceptor. An initial screen of 10 European cry alleles revealed substantial variation, including seven non-synonymous changes. The SNP frequency spectra and the excessive linkage disequilibrium in this locus suggested that this variation is maintained by natural selection. We focused on a non-conservative SNP involving a leucine – histidine replacement (L232H) and found that this polymorphism is common, with both alleles at intermediate frequencies across 27 populations surveyed in Europe, irrespective of latitude. Remarkably, we were able to reproduce this natural observation in the laboratory using replicate population cages where the minor allele frequency was initially set to 10%. Within 20 generations, the two allelic variants converged to approximately equal frequencies. Further experiments using congenic strains, showed that this SNP has a phenotypic impact, with variants showing significantly different eclosion profiles. At the long term, these phase differences in eclosion may contribute to genetic differentiation among individuals, and shape the evolution of wild populations.
DOI Link: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086483
ISSN: 1932-6203
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2014 Pegoraro et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Genetics

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