Evolution of the achaete-scute complex in insects: convergent duplication of proneural genes

Trends Genet. 2009 Apr;25(4):147-52. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2009.02.001. Epub 2009 Mar 13.


Proneural genes encode transcriptional activators of the basic Helix-loop-helix class that are involved in neuronal specification and differentiation. We have used the recent availability of genome sequences of multiple distant insect species to study the evolution of a family of proneural genes, the achaete-scute genes, and to examine their genomic organization and evolution. We document independent evolution of multiple copies of achaete-scute homologues and argue that this might have contributed to morphological diversity in Diptera and Lepidoptera.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Diptera
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genome
  • Lepidoptera
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ac protein, Drosophila
  • sc protein, Drosophila