The evolutionary genetics of thehobo transposable element in theDrosophila melanogaster complex
ABSTRACT Hobo elements are a family of transposable elements found inDrosophila melanogaster and its three sibling species:D. simulans, D. mauritiana andD. sechellia. Studies inD. melanogaster have shown thathobo may be mobilized, and that the genetic effects of such mobilizations included the general features of hybrid dysgenesis: mutations, chromosomal rearrangements and gonadal dysgenis in F1 individuals. At the evolutionary level somehobo-hybridizing sequences have also been found in the other members of themelanogaster subgroup and in many members of the relatedmontium subgroup. Surveys of older collected strains ofD. melanogaster suggest that completehobo elements were absent prior to 50 years ago and that they have recently been introduced into this species by horizontal transfer. In this paper we review our findings and those of others, in order to precisely describe the geographical distribution and the evolutionary history ofhobo in theD. melanogaster complex. Studies of the DNA sequences reveal a different level of divergence between the groupD. melanogaster, D. simulans andD. mauritiana and the fourth speciesD. sechellia. The hypothesis of multiple transfers in the recent past into theD. melanogaster complex from a common outside source is discussed.