A Microsatellite Variability Screen for Positive Selection Associated With the "Out of Africa" Habitat Expansion of Drosophila melanogaster

Kauer, M.O.; Dieringer, D.; Schlötterer, C.
November 2003
Genetics;Nov2003, Vol. 165 Issue 3, p1137
Academic Journal
We report a "hitchhiking mapping" study in D. melanogaster, which searches for genomic regions with reduced variability. The study's aim was to identify selective sweeps associated with the "out of Africa" habitat expansion. We scanned 103 microsatellites on chromosome 3 and 102 microsatellites on the X chromosome for reduced variability in non-African populations. When the chromosomes were analyzed separately, the number of loci with a significant reduction in variability only slightly exceeded the expectation under neutrality—six loci on the third chromosome and tour loci on the X chromosome. However, non-African populations also have a more pronounced average loss in variability on the X chromosomes as compared to the third chromosome, which suggests the action of selection. Therefore, comparing the X chromosome to the autosome yields a higher number of significantly reduced loci. However, a more pronounced loss of variability on the X chromosome may be caused by demographic events rather than by natural selection. We therefore explored a range of demographic scenarios and found that some of these captured most, but not all aspects of our data. More theoretical work is needed to evaluate how demographic events might differentially affect X chromosomes and autosomes and to estimate the most likely scenario associated with the out of Africa expansion of D. melanogaster.


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