Tuesday, October 21, 2008

High rate of transposable element-induced adaptation in Drosophila

imagePloS Biology today published a paper by Gonzalez, J., Lenkov, K., Lipatov, M., Macpherson, J.M., and D.A. Petrov on the high rate of recent transposable element-induced adaptations in Drosophila melanogaster. In this work, we describe the first comprehensive genome-wide screen for recent adaptive TE insertions in D. melanogaster. Using several independent criteria, we identified a set of 13 adaptive TEs and estimate that 25-50 TEs have played adaptive roles since the migration of D. melanogaster out of Africa. We show that most of these adaptive TEs are likely to be involved in regulatory changes and appear to be involved in adaptation to the temperate climate. We argue that most identified adaptive TEs are destined to be lost from the D. melanogaster population but that they do contribute significantly to local adaptation in this species.

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