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Population Genetic and Functional Analysis of a cis-Regulatory Polymorphism in the Drosophila melanogaster Metallothionein A gene

1
Division of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Biology, LMU Munich, Grosshaderner Str. 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
2
Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC), Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 14-18 75236, Uppsala, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(2), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10020147
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Gene Expression)
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Abstract

Although gene expression can vary extensively within and among populations, the genetic basis of this variation and the evolutionary forces that maintain it are largely unknown. In Drosophila melanogaster, a 49-bp insertion/deletion (indel) polymorphism in the Metallothionein A (MtnA) gene is associated with variation in MtnA expression and oxidative stress tolerance. To better understand the functional and evolutionary significance of this polymorphism, we investigated it in several worldwide populations. In a German population, the deletion was present at a high and stable frequency over multiple seasons and years, and was associated with increased MtnA expression. There was, however, no evidence that the polymorphism was maintained by overdominant, seasonally fluctuating, or sexually antagonistic selection. The deletion was rare in a population from the species’ ancestral range in sub-Saharan Africa and is likely the result of non-African admixture, suggesting that it spread to high frequency following the species’ out-of-Africa expansion. Using data from a North American population, we found that the deletion was associated with MtnA expression and tolerance to oxidative stress induced by menadione sodium bisulfite. Our results are consistent with the deletion being selectively favored in temperate populations due to the increased MtnA expression and oxidative stress tolerance that it confers. View Full-Text
Keywords: gene expression; cis-regulation; deletion; indel; untranslated region; oxidative stress; population genetics; Drosophila melanogaster gene expression; cis-regulation; deletion; indel; untranslated region; oxidative stress; population genetics; Drosophila melanogaster
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Ramnarine, T.J.S.; Glaser-Schmitt, A.; Catalán, A.; Parsch, J. Population Genetic and Functional Analysis of a cis-Regulatory Polymorphism in the Drosophila melanogaster Metallothionein A gene. Genes 2019, 10, 147.

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