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

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Science  29 Jun 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5833, pp. 1898-1900
DOI: 10.1126/science.1138426

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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.

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