Transcriptional differentiation across the four subspecies of Drosophila Mojavensis

Luciano M. Matzkin, Therese A. Markow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


Local adaptation can play a fundamental role in the isolation of populations. While less well-studied than differentiation in sequence variation, changes in transcriptional variation during speciation also are fundamental to the evolutionary process. Drosophila mojavensis offers an unprecedented opportunity to examine the role of transcriptional differentiation in local adaptation. Drosophila mojavensis is a cactophilic fly composed of four ecologically distinct subspecies that inhabit the deserts of western North America. Each of the four subspecies utilizes necrotic tissue of different cactus host species characterized by distinct chemical profiles. The subspecies in Baja California, Mexico uses Stenocereus gummosus (Agria), in mainland Sonora it uses S. thurberi (Organ Pipe), in the Mojave Desert the host is Ferocactus cylindraceus (Red Barrel) and in Santa Catalina Island, USA, Opuntia littoralis (Prickly Pear) is the host. In this chapter we examine how the adaptation to the different environmental conditions across the four subspecies have shaped their transcriptional profiles. Using complete D. mojavensis genome microarrays we examined the transcriptome of third instar larvae from all four subspecies reared in standard laboratory media free of necrotic cactus-derived compounds. This experimental strategy focused on differences between constitutively expressed genes and not genes induced by necrotic cactus-derived compounds. The subspecies exhibited significant differential expression of genes that likely underlie the adaptation to different cactus hosts, such as detoxification genes (Glutathione Stransferases, Cytochrome P450s and UDP-Glycosyltransferases) and chemosensory genes (Odorant Receptors, Gustatory Receptors and Odorant Binding Proteins).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpeciation
Subtitle of host publicationNatural Processes, Genetics and Biodiversity
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781626183896
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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