Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 511–518 | Cite as

Protein Polymorphism Is Negatively Correlated with Conservation of Intronic Sequences and Complexity of Expression Patterns in Drosophila melanogaster

  • Natalia PetitEmail author
  • Sònia Casillas
  • Alfredo Ruiz
  • Antonio Barbadilla


We report a significant negative correlation between nonsynonymous polymorphism and intron length in Drosophila melanogaster. This correlation is similar to that between protein divergence and intron length previously reported in Drosophila. We show that the relationship can be explained by the content of conserved noncoding sequences (CNS) within introns. In addition, genes with a high regulatory complexity and many genetic interactions also exhibit larger amounts of CNS within their introns and lower values of nonsynonymous polymorphism. The present study provides relevant evidence on the importance of intron content and expression patterns on the levels of coding polymorphism.


Coding nucleotide polymorphism Gene expression pattern Protein evolution Conserved noncoding sequences Drosophila melanogaster 



The authors would like to thank Raquel Egea and Jordi Pijoan for their help in the manual revision of the alignments and testing of the dataset; Brian Charlesworth for helpful discussions and comments on this work during his stay at our lab; and Marta Puig, Dmitri Petrov, Hiroshi Akashi, and an anonymous reviewer for their useful comments. This work was funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (Grant BES−2003−0416) and Ministerio de Educacio´n y Ciencia (Grant BFU-2006-08640). N.P. was supported by a grant from the Departament de Genètica i Microbiologia of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and S.C. by the Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (Grant BES-2003-0416).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalia Petit
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sònia Casillas
    • 1
  • Alfredo Ruiz
    • 1
  • Antonio Barbadilla
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament de Genètica i Microbiologia, Facultat de BiociènciesUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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