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Mapping QTL Contributing to Variation in Posterior Lobe Morphology between Strains of Drosophila melanogaster.

Hackett, Jennifer L; Wang, Xiaofei; Smith, Brittny R; Macdonald, Stuart J.
PLoS One; 11(9): e0162573, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27606594
Closely-related, and otherwise morphologically similar insect species frequently show striking divergence in the shape and/or size of male genital structures, a phenomenon thought to be driven by sexual selection. Comparative interspecific studies can help elucidate the evolutionary forces acting on genital structures to drive this rapid differentiation. However, genetic dissection of sexual trait divergence between species is frequently hampered by the difficulty generating interspecific recombinants. Intraspecific variation can be leveraged to investigate the genetics of rapidly-evolving sexual traits, and here we carry out a genetic analysis of variation in the posterior lobe within D. melanogaster. The lobe is a male-specific process emerging from the genital arch of D. melanogaster and three closely-related species, is essential for copulation, and shows radical divergence in form across species. There is also abundant variation within species in the shape and size of the lobe, and while this variation is considerably more subtle than that seen among species, it nonetheless provides the raw material for QTL mapping. We created an advanced intercross population from a pair of phenotypically-different inbred strains, and after phenotyping and genotyping-by-sequencing the recombinants, mapped several QTL contributing to various measures of lobe morphology. The additional generations of crossing over in our mapping population led to QTL intervals that are smaller than is typical for an F2 mapping design. The intervals we map overlap with a pair of lobe QTL we previously identified in an independent mapping cross, potentially suggesting a level of shared genetic control of trait variation. Our QTL additionally implicate a suite of genes that have been shown to contribute to the development of the posterior lobe. These loci are strong candidates to harbor naturally-segregating sites contributing to phenotypic variation within D. melanogaster, and may also be those contributing to divergence in lobe morphology between species.
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