Functional copies of the Mst77F gene on the Y chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster

Genetics. 2010 Jan;184(1):295-307. doi: 10.1534/genetics.109.107516. Epub 2009 Nov 6.


The Y chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster has <20 protein-coding genes. These genes originated from the duplication of autosomal genes and have male-related functions. In 1993, Russell and Kaiser found three Y-linked pseudogenes of the Mst77F gene, which is a testis-expressed autosomal gene that is essential for male fertility. We did a thorough search using experimental and computational methods and found 18 Y-linked copies of this gene (named Mst77Y-1-Mst77Y-18). Ten Mst77Y genes encode defective proteins and the other eight are potentially functional. These eight genes produce approximately 20% of the functional Mst77F-like mRNA, and molecular evolutionary analysis shows that they evolved under purifying selection. Hence several Mst77Y genes have all the features of functional genes. Mst77Y genes are present only in D. melanogaster, and phylogenetic analysis confirmed that the duplication is a recent event. The identification of functional Mst77Y genes reinforces the previous finding that gene gains play a prominent role in the evolution of the Drosophila Y chromosome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Genes, Y-Linked / genetics
  • Histones / genetics*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Male
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Y Chromosome / genetics*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Histones
  • Mst77F protein, Drosophila
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes