A Rapidly Evolving Homeobox at the Site of a Hybrid Sterility Gene

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Science  20 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5393, pp. 1501-1504
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5393.1501

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The homeodomain is a DNA binding motif that is usually conserved among diverse taxa. Rapidly evolving homeodomains are thus of interest because their divergence may be associated with speciation. The exact site of the Odysseus (Ods) locus of hybrid male sterility inDrosophila contains such a homeobox gene. In the past half million years, this homeodomain has experienced more amino acid substitutions than it did in the preceding 700 million years; during this period, it has also evolved faster than other parts of the protein or even the introns. Such rapid sequence divergence is driven by positive selection and may contribute to reproductive isolation.

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