Intraspecific Polymorphism to Interspecific Divergence: Genetics of Pigmentation in Drosophila

Author(s): Patricia J. Wittkopp, Emma E. Stewart, Lisa L. Arnold, Adam H. Neidert, Belinda K. Haerum, Elizabeth M. Thompson, Saleh Akhras, Gabriel Smith-Winberry

Fly body color


Fly body color is controlled by a variety of genes and alleles. Now Wittkopp et al. describe how two genes at the ebony and tan genetic loci control body color among two closely related species, Drosophila americana and D. novamexicana. Variations at the tan locus and linked to the ebony locus also contribute to intraspecific pigmentation changes with geography in D. americana. The sequencing of multiple isolates suggests that some strains of D. americana carry alleles of tan and ebony that are more closely related to the D. novamexicana alleles than they are to other D. americana alleles. Thus, the genetic determinants of both inter- and intraspecies color variation is due to shared alleles.

Publication Information:

Name of Periodical: Science

Volume Number: 326

Issue Number: 5952

Year of Publication: 2009