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Science 335 (6071): 943-947

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Evolution of Shape by Multiple Regulatory Changes to a Growth Gene

David W. Loehlin*,{dagger}, and John H. Werren{dagger}

Abstract: The genetic changes responsible for morphological differences between species are largely unidentified. Such changes can involve modifications of growth that are relevant to understanding evolution, development, and disease. We identified a gene that induces male-specific wing size and shape differences between Nasonia wasp species. Fine-scale mapping and in situ hybridization reveal that changes in at least three regions (two strictly in noncoding sequence) around the gene unpaired-like (upd-like) cause changes in spatial and temporal expression of upd-like in the developing wing and corresponding changes in wing width. Upd-like shows homology to the Drosophila unpaired gene, a well-studied signaling protein that regulates cell proliferation and differentiation. Our results indicate how multiple changes in the regulation of upd-like are involved in microevolution of morphological and sex-specific differences between species.

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.

* Present address: Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: loehlin{at}wisc.edu (D.W.L.); werr{at}mail.rochester.edu (J.H.W.)


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