Natural Variation in a Drosophila Clock Gene and Temperature Compensation

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Science  19 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5346, pp. 2117-2120
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5346.2117

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The threonine-glycine (Thr-Gly) encoding repeat within the clock gene period of Drosophila melanogaster is polymorphic in length. The two major variants(Thr-Gly)17 and (Thr-Gly)20 are distributed as a highly significant latitudinal cline in Europe and North Africa. Thr-Gly length variation from both wild-caught and transgenic individuals is related to the flies' ability to maintain a circadian period at different temperatures. This phenomenon provides a selective explanation for the geographical distribution of Thr-Gly lengths and gives a rare glimpse of the interplay between molecular polymorphism, behavior, population biology, and natural selection.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: Departamento de Bioquimica e Biologia Molecular Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz, Avenue Brasil, 4365-Manquinhos, CEP 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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

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