Evolutionary genetics of the Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase gene-enzyme system

Genetica. 1993;92(1):1-22. doi: 10.1007/BF00057503.


Evolutionary genetics embodies a broad research area that ranges from the DNA level to studies of genetic aspects in populations. In all cases the purpose is to determine the impact of genetic variation on evolutionary change. The broad range of evolutionary genetics requires the involvement of a diverse group of researchers: molecular biologists, (population) geneticists, biochemists, physiologists, ecologists, ethologists and theorists, each of which has its own insights and interests. For example, biochemists are often not concerned with the physiological function of a protein (with respect to pH, substrates, temperature, etc.), while ecologists, in turn, are often not interested in the biochemical-physiological aspects underlying the traits they study. This review deals with several evolutionary aspects of the Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase gene-enzyme system, and includes my own personal viewpoints. I have tried to condense and integrate the current knowledge in this field as it has developed since the comprehensive review by van Delden (1982). Details on specific issues may be gained from Sofer and Martin (1987), Sullivan, Atkinson and Starmer (1990); Chambers (1988, 1991); Geer, Miller and Heinstra (1991); and Winberg and McKinley-McKee (1992).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Drosophila / enzymology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • Male
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Phenotype


  • Isoenzymes
  • Ethanol
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase