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Analysis of the Drosophila unc-4 gene duplication and relationships of its duplicate Odysseus (OdsH) to the post-zygotic reproductive isolation between Drosophila arizonae and d. mojavensis

Grant number: 18/17017-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2019
Effective date (End): December 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics
Principal Investigator:Claudia Marcia Aparecida Carareto
Grantee:William Vilas Boas Nunes
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas (IBILCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São José do Rio Preto. São José do Rio Preto , SP, Brazil


The gene OdsH was the first speciation gene described in Drosophila, known for its role in reproductive isolation between the species Drosophila simulans and D. mauritiana, being related to the male hybrid sterility. It is proposed that OdsH originated from a duplication of the gene unc-4, in subgenus Sophophora, after its divergence from the subgenus Drosophila. However, our searches realized at the Gene database, and NCBI, showed the occurrence of unc-4 duplicates, in tandem, in genomes of several species of the Drosophila subgenus, as the described for OdsH. Therefore, this project aims to demonstrate that the unc-4 duplication occurred before the Sophophora/Drosophila divergence, to date the duplication occurrence, as well as to identify if this duplicate, plays a role in the post-zygotic isolation in species of the Drosophila subgenus, having as model the species D. arizonae and D. mojavensis. Therefore, homologous sequences to unc-4 and OdsH found on Gene will be used as a query for searching these genes on available genomes at the Genome database of NCBI (of species of Drosophila, Sophophora and Dorsilopha subgenus) as well as on genomes sequenced by our research group (two D. mojavensis subspecies and three species of the Zaprionus genus). Having those sequences, phylogenetic analyses will be performed and the duplication occurrence will be dated. For functional analyses, inter crossings between two subespecies D. mojavensis and one of D. arizonae will be performed and the male hybrids will be investigated regarding to the spermatic motility, to gonadal dysgenesis and sterility. In addition, the expression of the duplicate homologous to OdsH will be quantified in parental species and hybrids testes, in order to identify if the gene expression is related to the hybrid male phenotypes.