, Volume 135, Issue 3, pp 415-418

First online:

The recent origin of the Sdic gene cluster in the melanogaster subgroup

  • Rita PonceAffiliated withCentro de Biologia Ambiental, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaDepartment of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Email author 

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Gene families are composed of closely related genes and are an important part of eukaryotic genomes. In the proximal region of the X chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster there is a cluster of four tandem Sdic genes, located between the gene Cdic and the gene AnnX. Sdic is a chimeric gene that encodes a novel protein with sperm-specific expression. It had been hypothesized that the Sdic gene cluster was formed after the split of D. melanogaster and D. simulans. To study the evolution of this cluster, the sequence of this region was studied in several Drosophilidae species. In all species analyzed, Sdic genes are absent and AnnX and Cdic are adjacent to each other. The results allowed the inference of the ancestral situation and the reconstruction of the evolution of the cluster, and confirm that the Sdic cluster was indeed formed in the lineage that gave rise to D. melanogaster, being one of the youngest gene clusters known.


Gene duplication Novel gene Gene family Gene cluster Sdic X chromosome