Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 325-332

First online:

High Incidence of Interchromosomal Transpositions in the Evolutionary History of a Subset of Or Genes in Drosophila

  • Inês C. ConceiçãoAffiliated withDepartament de Genètica, Universitat de Barcelona
  • , Montserrat AguadéAffiliated withDepartament de Genètica, Universitat de Barcelona Email author 

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In insects, the odorant receptor (Or) multigene family is an intermediate-sized family with genes present in all chromosomes, indicating that duplication followed by interchromosomal transposition played an important role in the early stages of the family evolution. Here, we have explored the occurrence of interchromosomal transpositions in more recent stages through the comparative analysis of a subset of Or genes in Drosophila, where the gene content of chromosomal arms is highly conserved. The studied subset consisted of 11 Or genes located on the left arm of chromosome 3 (Muller’s D element) in D. melanogaster. Our study focused on the number and chromosomal arm location of these members of the family across the 12 Drosophila species with complete genome sequences. In contrast to previous results from in situ hybridization comparative mapping that were mainly based on single-copy genes, our study, based on members of a multigene family of moderate size, revealed repeated interchromosomal transposition events and a complex history of some of the studied genes.


Olfaction Olfactory receptor Genome evolution Gene transposition