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Science 316 (5833): 1898-1900

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

A Molecular Basis for Natural Selection at the timeless Locus in Drosophila melanogaster

Federica Sandrelli,1* Eran Tauber,2* Mirko Pegoraro,1* Gabriella Mazzotta,1 Paola Cisotto,1 Johannes Landskron,3 Ralf Stanewsky,3,4 Alberto Piccin,1{dagger} Ezio Rosato,2 Mauro Zordan,1 Rodolfo Costa,1{ddagger} Charalambos P. Kyriacou2

Abstract: Diapause is a protective response to unfavorable environments that results in a suspension of insect development and is most often associated with the onset of winter. The ls-tim mutation in the Drosophila melanogaster clock gene timeless has spread in Europe over the past 10,000 years, possibly because it enhances diapause. We show that the mutant allele attenuates the photosensitivity of the circadian clock and causes decreased dimerization of the mutant TIMELESS protein isoform to CRYPTOCHROME, the circadian photoreceptor. This interaction results in a more stable TIMELESS product. These findings reveal a molecular link between diapause and circadian photoreception.

1 Department of Biology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy.
2 Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK.
3 Institut für Zoologie, Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungsbiologie, University of Regensburg, Regensburg 93040, Germany.
4 School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary College, University of London, London E1 4NS, UK.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Deceased.

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

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