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Molecular evolution of a pervasive natural amino-acid substitution in Drosophila cryptochrome

journal contribution
posted on 20.03.2014, 13:27 by Mirko Pegoraro, Shumaila Noreen, Supriya Bhutani, Avgi Tsolou, Ralf Schmid, Charalambos P. Kyriacou, Eran Tauber
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.

Funding

This work was funded by grants from NERC (NE/D012058/1) and BBSRC (BB/K001922/1) to ET and CPK. CPK also acknowledges a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. SN was funded by the Faculty Development Program (FDP) Scholarships, University of Peshawar.

History

Citation

PLoS ONE, 2014, 9 (1), e86483

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Biological Sciences/Department of Biochemistry

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

PLoS ONE

Publisher

Public Library of Science

issn

1932-6203

Copyright date

2014

Available date

20/03/2014

Publisher version

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0086483#s5

Language

en

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