A mutation in Drosophila simulans that lengthens the circadian period of locomotor activity

  • A. S. Rogers
  • Stefan A. Escher
  • C. Pasetto
  • E. Rosato
  • R. Costa
  • C. P. Kyriacou
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Evolution book series (CIGE, volume 11)


The length of the Thr-Gly repeat within the period gene of Drosophilids, coevolves with its immediate flanking region to maintain the temperature compensation of the fly circadian clock. In Drosophila simulans, balancing selection appears to maintain a polymorphism in this region, with three repeat lengths carrying 23, 24 or 25 Thr-Gly pairs, each in complete linkage disequilibrium with a distinctive flanking region amino acid moiety. We wondered whether separating a specific length repeat from its associated flanking haplotype might have functional implications for the circadian clock. We fortuitously discovered a population of flies collected in Kenya, in which a chimeric Thr-Gly haplotype was segregating that carried the (Thr-Gly) 24 repeat, but the flanking region of a (ThrGly) 23 allele. One of the five isofemale lines that carried this ‘mutant’ Thr-Gly sequence showed a dramatically long and temperature-sensitive free-running circadian period. This phenotype was mapped to the X chromosome, close to the D. simulans per gene, but there was also a significant effect of a modifying autosomal locus or loci. It seems remarkable that such a mutant phenotype should be discovered in a screen of chimeric Thr-Gly regions.

Key words

circadian coevolution locomotor activity modifiers mutation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. S. Rogers
    • 1
  • Stefan A. Escher
    • 3
  • C. Pasetto
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Rosato
    • 4
  • R. Costa
    • 2
  • C. P. Kyriacou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  3. 3.Department of GeneticsUmea UniversityUmeaSweden
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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