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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Incipient speciation in Drosophila melanogaster involves chemical signals

Grillet, Micheline; Everaerts, Claude; Houot, Benjamin; Ritchie, Michael G.; Cobb, Matthew; Ferveur, Jean-Francois

Abstract

The sensory and genetic bases of incipient speciation between strains of Drosophila melanogaster from Zimbabwe and those from elsewhere are unknown. We studied mating behaviour between eight strains - six from Zimbabwe, together with two cosmopolitan strains. The Zimbabwe strains showed significant sexual isolation when paired with cosmopolitan males, due to Zimbabwe females discriminating against these males. Our results show that flies' cuticular hydrocarbons (CHs) were involved in this sexual isolation, but that visual and acoustic signals were not. The mating frequency of Zimbabwe females was highly significantly negatively correlated with the male's relative amount of 7-tricosene (%7-T), while the mating of cosmopolitan females was positively correlated with %7-T. Variation in transcription levels of two hydrocarbon-determining genes, desat1 and desat2, did not correlate with the observed mating patterns. Our study represents a step forward in our understanding of the sensory processes involved in this classic case of incipient speciation.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2012, Volume: 2, article number: 224
Publisher: NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Behavioral Sciences Biology
    Genetics
    Evolutionary Biology

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep00224

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/90724