Latitudinal relationships of esterase-6 and phosphoglucomutase gene frequencies in Drosophila melanogaster

Heredity (Edinb). 1981 Dec;47(Pt 3):385-96. doi: 10.1038/hdy.1981.99.


Geographic variation in Esterase-6 (Est-6) and Phosphoglucomutase (Pgm) gene frequencies in Australasian populations of Drosophila melanogaster are compared with analogous data collated from 16 previous reports for North America and Europe/Asia. A large-scale latitudinal cline is found on all three zoogeographic zones for Est-6 and overall, Est-61.00 frequency increases from about 20 per cent around 20 degrees latitude to about 80 per cent approaching 50 degrees latitude. In contrast, there is no consistent evidence for the latitudinal cline in Pgm gene frequencies in any of the three zones with Pgm1.00 frequency generally about 85 per cent and Pgm1.20 and Pgm0.70 frequencies each between 5 per cent and 10 per cent. The consistent Est-6 clines are attributed to latitudinal selection gradients but not consistent correlations are found between Est-6 gene frequencies and maximum or minimum temperature or rainfall which might be associated with these gradients. The directions of the Est-6 clines in fact run counter to expectations based on the in vitro thermostabilities of the respective allozymes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Carboxylesterase
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Climate
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Frequency
  • North America
  • Phosphoglucomutase / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • Carboxylesterase
  • Est-6 protein, Drosophila
  • Phosphoglucomutase