Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 389–401 | Cite as

Molecular evolution in theDrosophila yakuba period locus

  • Justin R. Thackeray
  • Charalabos P. Kyriacou


Two nuclear genes fromDrosophila yakuba were cloned, the orthologue of theDrosophila melanogaster period (per) clock gene and the orthologue of an unnamedD. melanogaster gene adjacent toper, which encodes a 0.9-kb RNA transcript. The DNA and presumed protein sequences of both genes are presented and compared with their orthologues inD. melanogaster. Consistent with theper orthologues described in otherDrosophila species, some parts of theper gene have accumulated nonsynonymous substitutions at a much higher rate than others. This contrasts markedly with the evenly distributed amino acid replacements observed in the protein encoded by the adjacent gene. The level of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions betweenD. yakuba andD. melanogaster per were compared in small subsections across the gene. The results suggest that the divergence observed in the less well-conserved regions of theper protein is principally due to reduced selective constraint, although the limitations of the method used prevent positive selection acting upon a small proportion of sites being ruled out. The level of silent substituion observed in both of these nuclear genes is very similar to the level of silent substitution previously reported betweenD. melanogaster andD. yakuba mitochondrial genes, confirming several indirect studies, which have suggested that, in contrast to the case in mammals, silent sites are evolving at similar rates in mitochondrial and nuclear genes ofDrosophila.

Key words

period gene Nuclear vs mitochondrial silent substitution rates Amino acid replacement Drosophila yakuba Drosophila melanogaster 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin R. Thackeray
    • 1
  • Charalabos P. Kyriacou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of LeicesterUK

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