A multispecies approach for comparing sequence evolution of X-linked and autosomal sites in Drosophila

Beatriz Vicoso, Penelope R Haddrill, Brian Charlesworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Population genetics models show that, under certain conditions, the X chromosome is expected to be under more efficient selection than the autosomes. This could lead to 'faster-X evolution', if a large proportion of mutations are fixed by positive selection, as suggested by recent studies in Drosophila. We used a multispecies approach to test this: Muller's element D, an autosomal arm, is fused to the ancestral X chromosome in Drosophila pseudoobscura and its sister species, Drosophila affinis. We tested whether the same set of genes had higher rates of non-synonymous evolution when they were X-linked (in the D. pseudoobscura/D. affinis comparison) than when they were autosomal (in Drosophila melanogaster/Drosophila yakuba). Although not significant, our results suggest this may be the case, but only for genes under particularly strong positive selection/weak purifying selection. They also suggest that genes that have become X-linked have higher levels of codon bias and slower synonymous site evolution, consistent with more effective selection on codon usage at X-linked sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-431
Number of pages11
JournalGenetics Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • animals
  • drosophila
  • drosophila proteins
  • evolution, molecular
  • female
  • genes, insect
  • genes, x-linked
  • male
  • molecular sequence data
  • sequence analysis, DNA
  • species specificity
  • X chromosome


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