Independence of genetic geographical variation between photoperiodic diapause, circadian eclosion rhythm, and Thr-Gly repeat region of the period gene in Drosophila littoralis

J Biol Rhythms. 2006 Feb;21(1):3-12. doi: 10.1177/0748730405283418.


Drosophila littoralis is a latitudinally widespread European species of the Drosophila virilis group. The species has ample genetic variation in photoperiodism (adult diapause) and circadian rhythmicity (pupal eclosion rhythm), with adaptive latitudinal clines in both of them. The possible common genetic basis between the variability of photoperiodism and circadian rhythms was studied by a long-term crossing experiment. A northern strain (65 degrees N) having long critical day length (CDL = 19.9 h) for diapause, early phase of the entrained rhythm in LD 3:21 (psi(LD3:21) = 12.3 h), and short period (tau= 18.8 h) of the free-running rhythm for the eclosion rhythm was crossed with a southern strain (42 degrees N) having short CDL (12.4 h), late eclosion phase (psi(LD3:21) = 20.2 h), and long period (tau= 22.8 h). After 54 generations, including free recombination, artificial selection, and genetic drift, a novel strain resulted, having even more "southern" diapause and more "northern" eclosion rhythm characteristics than found in any of the geographical strains. The observed complete separation of eclosion rhythm characteristics from photoperiodism is a new finding in D. littoralis; in earlier studies followed for 16 generations, the changes had been mostly parallel. Evidently, the genes controlling the variability of the eclosion rhythm and photoperiodism in D. littoralis are different but closely linked. To test for the possible gene loci underlying the observed geographical variability, the period gene was studied in 10 strains covering all the known clock variability in D. littoralis. The authors sequenced the most suspected Thr-Gly region, which is known to take part in the adaptive clock variability in Drosophila melanogaster. No coding differences were found in the strains, showing that this region is not included in the adaptive clock variability in D. littoralis.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Circadian Rhythm* / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm* / physiology
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Dipeptides / genetics
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / chemistry
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genetic Variation
  • Male
  • Metamorphosis, Biological / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Photoperiod*


  • Dipeptides
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PER protein, Drosophila
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • threonyl-glycine