Seminar series on The Evolution of Genomic Architecture - John Parsch: Gene expression variation in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster

  • Date: Jun 4, 2019
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: John Parsch from LMU in Munich, Germany
  • Here you find more information on the speaker:
  • Location: MPI Plön
  • Room: Lecture hall
  • Host: Jenna Gallie & Julien Dutheil


Although gene expression can vary extensively within and between populations, the genetic basis of this variation and the evolutionary forces that maintain it are largely unknown. We used high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to identify genes differing in expression between Drosophila melanogaster populations from the ancestral (African) and derived (European) ranges of the species. By combining the transcriptomic results with population genetic analyses and transgenic reporter gene experiments, we were able to determine the specific regulatory regions responsible for the observed expression variation of multiple genes, including genes involved in stress tolerance, growth regulation, and several cytochrome P450 genes. Many of the regulatory variants had tissue-specific effects on expression and displayed elevated sequence divergence between populations relative to the rest of the genome. This suggests that local adaptation plays an important role in maintaining regulatory variation in natural populations.

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