Observations on the extent and temporal stability of latitudinal clines for alcohol dehydrogenase allozymes and four chromosome inversions in Drosophila melanogaster

Genetica. 1987 Nov 30;75(2):81-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00055251.


Previously we have presented evidence of large-scale latitudinal clines in the frequencies of four chromosome inversions and alleles at six enzyme loci in populations of D. melanogaster in Australasia, Asia and North America. Subsequent sampling by others in Japan and western U.S.A. has failed to repeat this observation for the steepest of the clines (alcohol dehydrogenase and the four chromosome inversions). We argue that this failure reflects the few populations and small latitudinal range sampled in these later studies. From extensive sampling over a long latitudinal transect in Australasia we here document Adh and inversion clines which are virtually identical to those originally obtained in different Australian populations four years earlier. We also repeat our observation that the Adh cline is largely independent of the cline in the linked inversion In(2L)t. We therefore retain our original conclusion that these polymorphisms are subject to natural selection. However the new Australasian data do not indicate an association between Adh and maximum rainfall which had been evident in the earlier data for Australasia, Asia and North America. We therefore retract our claim that the selective agent on Adh is related to rainfall.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Chromosome Inversion*
  • Climate
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Frequency*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Homing Behavior
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase