Molecular evolution of the Rh3 gene in Drosophila

Genetica. 1993;92(1):23-32. doi: 10.1007/BF00057504.


Previous investigations into the evolution of the Drosophila opsin gene family are extended by inter- and intraspecific DNA sequence comparisons of the Rh3 locus in the melanogaster subgroup and D. pseudoobscura. Two separate statistical tests of the neutral-mutation hypothesis suggest that random genetic drift is responsible for virtually all of the observed amino acid replacement substitutions within the melanogaster subgroup. Analyses incorporating the D. pseudoobscura sequences are enigmatic due to the accumulation of multiple substitutions, because the McDonald-Kreitman test is not applicable to species comparisons that approach mutational saturation. However, the data from D. pseudoobscura are not inconsistent with selective neutrality. The ratio of amino acid polymorphisms within species to fixed differences between species imply that there are approximately 31 possible neutral single-step amino-acid-replacement substitutions at this locus. Synonymous substitutions are unevenly distributed among the structural domains of the Rh3 gene. Patterns of synonymous polymorphism are analyzed with respect to GC content and codon bias, and are compared to other loci from the same species.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Codon
  • Computer Simulation
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Rhodopsin / genetics*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology
  • Species Specificity


  • Codon
  • Rhodopsin