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Faster-X effects in two Drosophila lineages

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  • Victoria Avila
  • Sophie Marion de Procé
  • José L Campos
  • Helen Borthwick
  • B Charlesworth
  • Andrea J Betancourt

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    Rights statement: © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2968-2982
JournalGenome Biology and Evolution
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2014


Under certain circumstances, X-linked loci are expected to experience more adaptive substitutions than similar autosomal loci. To look for evidence of faster-X evolution, we analyzed the evolutionary rates of coding sequences in two sets of Drosophila species, the melanogaster and pseudoobscura clades, using whole genome sequences. One of these, the pseudoobscura clade, contains a centric fusion between the ancestral X chromosome and the autosomal arm homologous to 3L in D. melanogaster. This offers an opportunity to study the same loci in both an X-linked and an autosomal context, and to compare these loci to those that are only X-linked or only autosomal. We therefore investigated these clades for evidence of faster-X evolution with respect to nonsynonymous substitutions, finding mixed results. Overall, there was consistent evidence for a faster-X effect in the melanogaster clade, but not in the pseudoobscura clade, except for the comparison between D. pseudoobscura and its close relative, D. persimilis. An analysis of polymorphism data on a set of genes from D. pseudoobscura that evolve rapidly with respect to their protein sequences revealed no evidence for a faster-X effect with respect to adaptive protein sequence evolution; their rapid evolution is instead largely attributable to lower selective constraints. Faster-X evolution in the melanogaster clade was not related to male-biased gene expression; surprisingly, however, female-biased genes showed evidence for faster-X effects.

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