Rapid evolution of male-biased genes in Drosophila

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 09/2003; 100(17):9894-9. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1630690100
Source: PubMed


A number of genes associated with sexual traits and reproduction evolve at the sequence level faster than the majority of genes coding for non-sex-related traits. Whole genome analyses allow this observation to be extended beyond the limited set of genes that have been studied thus far. We use cDNA microarrays to demonstrate that this pattern holds in Drosophila for the phenotype of gene expression as well, but in one sex only. Genes that are male-biased in their expression show more variation in relative expression levels between conspecific populations and two closely related species than do female-biased genes or genes with sexually monomorphic expression patterns. Additionally, elevated ratios of interspecific expression divergence to intraspecific expression variation among male-biased genes suggest that differences in rates of evolution may be due in part to natural selection. This finding has implications for our understanding of the importance of sexual dimorphism for speciation and rates of phenotypic evolution.

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Available from: Jose Ranz, Aug 01, 2014
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    • "In support of this theory, genes that are male-biased in their expression show greater divergence between species compared to female-biased and non-biased genes (Civetta and Singh, 1995; Meiklejohn et al., 2003; Hearty et al., 2007, but see Metta et al., 2006 for a counter example). In addition, spermatogenesis is considered to be more easily disrupted by mutations than oogenesis , leading to more male than female hybrid sterility (Wu and Davis, 1993). "
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    • "Sex-biased gene expression is a common phenomenon in both dioecious plant and animal species, as documented in humans (Dimas & Nica, 2012), Drosophila (Zhang et al., 2007), emus (Vicoso et al., 2013) and Silene latifolia (Zemp et al., 2014), among others. Genes that exhibit sex-biased expression might be under unique evolutionary constraints, evolving more rapidly in terms of both sequence and expression (Meiklejohn et al., 2003). "
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    • "However, little is known about how chromatin structure varies across species or between sexes within a species. In particular, levels of gene expression vary considerably among species, and gene expression divergence has been implicated as an important factor driving adaptive divergence between species (Meiklejohn et al. 2003;McManus et al. 2010;Wittkopp and Kalay 2011), but it is generally unclear how expression divergence correlates with changes in chromatin structure (Cain et al. 2011). Not only species, but also the two sexes within a species often vary considerably in which genes are expressed at what level (Khil et al. 2004;Zhang et al. 2007). "
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