The genetics of adaptation in Drosophila sechellia

Genetica. 2005 Feb;123(1-2):137-45. doi: 10.1007/s10709-004-2728-6.


Drosophila sechellia is an island endemic of the Seychelles. After its geographic isolation on these islands, D. sechellia evolved into a host specialist on the fruit of Morinda citrifolia--a fruit often noxious and repulsive to Drosophila. Specialization on M. citrifolia required the evolution of a suite of adaptations, including resistance to and preference for some of the toxins found in this fruit. Several of these adaptive traits have been studied genetically. Here, I summarize what is known about the genetics of these traits and briefly describe the ecological and geographical context that shaped the evolution of these characters. The data from D. sechellia suggest that adaptations are not as genetically complex as historically thought, although almost all of the adaptations of D. sechellia involve several genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological / genetics*
  • Adaptation, Biological / physiology
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Fruit / toxicity
  • Larva / anatomy & histology
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Morinda / toxicity
  • Ovum / physiology
  • Smell / genetics
  • Smell / physiology