Origin and decay of the P element-associated latitudinal cline in Australian Drosophila melanogaster

Genetica. 1998;104(1):45-57. doi: 10.1023/a:1003469131647.


The latitudinal cline in P transposable element-associated characteristics in eastern Australian populations of Drosophila melanogaster has changed between 1986 and 1991-1994. New collections were made in 1991-1994 from localities along the eastern coast of Australia. P element-associated properties of 256 isofemale lines from 43 localities were evaluated using gonadal dysgenesis and/or singed-weak hypermutability assays. The overall results indicate that both P activity and P susceptibility have declined, with all populations showing a tendency towards a state with little P activity potential but with P repressor function (neutral or 'Q'). P repressor function is strong in all populations except some of the most southernly. P activity potential peaks at about 27 degrees SLat, and drops off to the south (as in 1983-1986 collections) and to the north (in contrast to 1983-1986 collections); thus the cline is no longer a simple P-to-Q-to-M pattern from north to south, but is now Q-P-Q-M. A mtDNA RFLP that putatively distinguishes North American and European populations varies in frequency among the populations but the frequency does not vary clinically with latitude, ruling out massive introductions from North America and Europe as causing the cline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Gonadal Dysgenesis / genetics
  • Haplotypes
  • Mutation


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA-Binding Proteins