Friday, April 9, 2010

Adaptation to temperate climates in Drosophila

The potential of geographic studies of genetic variation for the understanding of adaptation has been recognized for some time. In Drosophila, most of the available studies are based on a priori candidates giving a biased picture of the genes and traits under spatially varying selection. In a paper just published in PLoS Genetics and led by Josefa Gonzalez, we performed a genome-wide scan of adaptations to temperate climates associated with Transposable Element (TE) insertions. We integrated the available information of the identified TEs and their nearby genes to provide plausible hypotheses about the phenotypic consequences of these insertions. Considering the diversity of these TEs and the variety of genes into which they are inserted, it is surprising that their adaptive effects are consistently related to temperate climate-related factors. The TEs identified in this work add substantially to the markers available to monitor the impact of climate change on populations.

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