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Science 316 (5833): 1895-1898

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Natural Selection Favors a Newly Derived timeless Allele in Drosophila melanogaster

Eran Tauber,1* Mauro Zordan,2* Federica Sandrelli,2* Mirko Pegoraro,1,2 Nicolò Osterwalder,2 Carlo Breda,1,2 Andrea Daga,2{dagger} Alessandro Selmin,1,2 Karen Monger,1 Clara Benna,2 Ezio Rosato,1 Charalambos P. Kyriacou,1{ddagger} Rodolfo Costa2

Abstract: Circadian and other natural clock-like endogenous rhythms may have evolved to anticipate regular temporal changes in the environment. We report that a mutation in the circadian clock gene timeless in Drosophila melanogaster has arisen and spread by natural selection relatively recently in Europe. We found that, when introduced into different genetic backgrounds, natural and artificial alleles of the timeless gene affect the incidence of diapause in response to changes in light and temperature. The natural mutant allele alters an important life history trait that may enhance the fly's adaptation to seasonal conditions.

1 Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK.
2 Department of Biology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Present address: Department of Pharmacology, University of Padova, Largo Meneghetti 2, 35131 Padova, Italy.

{ddagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: cpk{at}

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