Female Drosophila melanogaster gene expression and mate choice: the X chromosome harbours candidate genes underlying sexual isolation

Bailey, Richard I, Innocenti, Paolo, Morrow, Edward H, Friberg, Urban and Qvarnström, Anna (2011) Female Drosophila melanogaster gene expression and mate choice: the X chromosome harbours candidate genes underlying sexual isolation. PLoS ONE, 6 (2). e17358. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Background: The evolution of female choice mechanisms favouring males of their own kind is considered a crucial step during the early stages of speciation. However, although the genomics of mate choice may influence both the likelihood and speed of speciation, the identity and location of genes underlying assortative mating remain largely unknown.

Methods and Findings: We used mate choice experiments and gene expression analysis of female Drosophila melanogaster to examine three key components influencing speciation. We show that the 1,498 genes in Zimbabwean female D. melanogaster whose expression levels differ when mating with more (Zimbabwean) versus less (Cosmopolitan strain) preferred males include many with high expression in the central nervous system and ovaries, are disproportionately X-linked and form a number of clusters with low recombination distance. Significant involvement of the brain and ovaries is consistent with the action of a combination of pre- and postcopulatory female choice mechanisms, while sex linkage and clustering of genes lead to high potential evolutionary rate and sheltering against the homogenizing effects of gene exchange between populations.

Conclusion: Taken together our results imply favourable genomic conditions for the evolution of reproductive isolation through mate choice in Zimbabwean D. melanogaster and suggest that mate choice may, in general, act as an even more important engine of speciation than previously realized.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology > QH0359 Evolution
Depositing User: Ted Morrow
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2012 11:49
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2017 02:53
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/40282

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