A molecular study of abdominal-A in the ant Myrmica rubra reveals lineage dependent evolutionary rates for a developmental gene

Insect Mol Biol. 2001 Oct;10(5):513-21. doi: 10.1046/j.0962-1075.2001.00291.x.


We have characterized the abdominal-A locus in a Hymenopteran, the ant Myrmica rubra. The sequence of the homeotic domain of the Abdominal-A family of orthologous genes is known for a fairly large number of insects but the complete sequence of the Abdominal-A protein, is known only for a few. The two proteins of Drosophila melanogaster and Tribolium castaneum differ markedly outside the homeodomain. A comparison of the ant Abdominal-A protein sequences with those of these two insects shows that the ant and beetle sequences are very similar all along the length of the protein. The fruit fly has diverged considerably and equally from the other two insects. This divergence reflects different rates of evolution of the protein in different lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Ants / classification
  • Ants / genetics*
  • Ants / growth & development
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Abd-A protein, insect
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Proteins