Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The molecular analysis ofbrown eye color mutations isolated from geographically discrete populations ofDrosophila melanogaster

  • 137 Accesses

  • 5 Citations


A large proportion of spontaneous mutations inDrosophila melanogaster strains of laboratory origin are associated with insertions of mobile DNA elements. As a first step toward determining whether spontaneous laboratory mutations are predictive for mutational events occurring in the wild, recessivebrown (bw) eye color mutants were isolated. By inbreeding the progeny of wild-caughtDrosophila melanogaster females,bw mutations were isolated from seven separate geographic sites distributed among Japan, California, Siberia and Hungary. Among a total of 14 mutations studied, no case of transposon mutagenesis was found. At least 4 mutations are associated with small deletions in thebw gene. The remainder are inseparable from wild-typebw by Southern analysis and are presumed to be basepair changes or very small indels. Although only two spontaneousbw mutants of laboratory origin have been analyzed molecularly, one is a mobile element insertion.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Chetverikov SS (1926) On certain features of the evolutionary process from the viewpoint of modern genetics. Translated from Russian (1961) Proc Amer Phil Soc 105:167–195

  2. Cooke PH, Oakeshott JG (1989) Amino acid polymorphism for esterase-6 inDrosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86:1426–1430

  3. Dreesen TD, Johnson DH, Henikoff S (1988) The brown protein ofDrosophila melanogaster is similar to the white protein and to components of active transport complexes. Mol Cell Biol 8:5206–5215

  4. Dreesen TD, Henikoff S, Loughney K (1991) A pairing-sensitive element that mediates trans-inactivation is associated with theDrosophila brown gene. Genes Dev 5:331–340

  5. Eanes WF, Kirchner M, Yoon J (1993) Evidence for adaptive evolution of theG6pd gene in theDrosophila melanogaster andDrosophila simulans lineages. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 90:7475–7479

  6. Evans BA, Howells AJ (1978) Control of drosopterin synthesis inDrosophila melanogaster: mutants showing an altered pattern of GTP cyclohydrolase activity during development. Biochem Genet 16:13–26

  7. Frischauf AM, Lehrach H, Poustka A, Murray N (1983) Lambda replacement vector carrying polylinker sequences. J Mol Biol 170:827–842

  8. Green MM (1988) Mobile DNA elements and spontaneous gene mutation. Banbury Rep 30:41–50

  9. Henikoff S (1984) Unidirectional digestion with exonuclease III creates targeted breakpoints for DNA sequencing. Gene 28:351–359

  10. Kosuda KO, Kitagawa O, Moriwaki D (1969) A seasonal survey of the genetic structure in natural populations ofDrosophila melanogaster. Japan J Genet 44:247–258

  11. Maniatis T, Hardison RC, Lacy E, Lacey J, O'Connell C, Quon D (1978) The isolation of structural genes from libraries of eukaryotic DNA. Cell 15:687–701

  12. McClintock, B (1950) The origin and behavior of loci in maize. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 36:344–355

  13. Mechler BM, McGinnis W Gehring WJ (1985) Molecular cloning oflethal(2)giant larvae, a recessive oncogene ofDrosophila melanogaster. EMBO J 4:1551–1557

  14. Nitasaka E, Mukai T, Yamazaki T (1987) Repressor of P elements inDrosophila melanogaster: cytotype determination by a defective P element carrying only open reading frames 0 through 2. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84:7605–7608

  15. Poole SJ, Kauvar LM, Drees B, Kornberg T (1985) Theengrailed locus of Drosophila: structural analysis of an embryonic transcript. Cell 40:37–43

  16. Riley MA, Kaplan SR, Veuille M (1992) Nucleotide polymorphism at the xanthine dehydrogenase locus inDrosophila pseudoobscura. Mol Biol Evol 9:56–69

  17. Sambrook J, Fritsch EF, Maniatis T (1989) Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

  18. Sanger F, Coulson AR, Barrell BG, Smith AJH, Roe BA (1980) Cloning in single-stranded bacteriophage as an aid to rapid DNA sequencing. J Mol Biol 143:161–178

  19. Smith PA, Corces VG (1991)Drosophila transposable elements: mechanisms of mutagenesis and interactions with the host genome. Adv Genet 29:229–300

  20. Spencer WP (1947) Mutations in wild populations in Drosophila. Adv Genet 1:359–402

  21. Watanabe TK, Watanabe T, Oshima C (1976) Genetic change in natural populations ofDrosophila melanogaster. Evolution 30:109–118

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Eiji Nitasaka.

Additional information

Communicated by M. Sekeguchi

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nitasaka, E., Yamazaki, T. & Green, M.M. The molecular analysis ofbrown eye color mutations isolated from geographically discrete populations ofDrosophila melanogaster . Molec. Gen. Genet. 247, 164–168 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00705646

Download citation

Key words

  • Spontaneous mutations
  • Natural populations
  • Drosophila melanogaster