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Reproductive isolation and the period gene of Drosophila

Authors

  • M. G. RITCHIE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dèpartment of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LEI 7RH, UK
      *School of Biological and Medical Sciences, Bute Medical Building, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TS, UK. Tel. 0334 463495. Fax. 0334 463600
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  • C. P. KYRIACOU

    1. Dèpartment of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LEI 7RH, UK
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  • This work was carried out while Mike Ritchie was a postdoctoral research associate in Bambos Kyriacou's laboratory in Leicester. Mike Ritchie is now a NERC Advanced Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, where he is continuing his studies of the evolutionary genetics of premating isolation in acoustic insects. Bambos Kyriacou has studied the function and evolution of the period gene, and reproductive behaviour, for many years.

*School of Biological and Medical Sciences, Bute Medical Building, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TS, UK. Tel. 0334 463495. Fax. 0334 463600

Abstract

The identification of genes of large effect on ecologically important traits is an important aim of molecular ecology. The period gene of Drosophila is a candidate for a gene with a large influence on premating isolation between Drosophila species, as it determines species specific aspects of courtship behaviour. Strains of D. melanogaster are available which have been genetically transformed with the period gene of either D. melanogaster or D. simulans. Here we show that D. melanogaster females do not discriminate between two such strains. This suggests that period may only make a small contribution to total premating isolation between these species. We discuss the use of genetically transformed strains in assessing the influence of single genes on complex traits.

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