The development of genomic resources in non-model taxa is essential for understanding the genetic basis of biological diversity. Although the genomes of many Drosophila species have been sequenced, most of the phenotypic diversity in this genus remains to be explored. To facilitate the genetic analysis of interspecific and intraspecific variation, we have generated new genomic resources for seven species and subspecies in the D. ananassae species subgroup. We have generated large amounts of transcriptome sequence data for D. ercepeae, D. merina, D. bipectinata, D. malerkotliana malerkotliana, D. m. pallens, D. pseudoananassae pseudoananassae, and D. p. nigrens. de novo assembly resulted in contigs covering more than half of the predicted transcriptome and matching an average of 59% of annotated genes in the complete genome of D. ananassae. Most contigs, corresponding to an average of 49% of D. ananassae genes, contain sequence polymorphisms that can be used as genetic markers. Subsets of these markers were validated by genotyping the progeny of inter- and intraspecific crosses. The ananassae subgroup is an excellent model system for examining the molecular basis of speciation and phenotypic evolution. The new genomic resources will facilitate the genetic analysis of inter- and intraspecific differences in this lineage. Transcriptome sequencing provides a simple and cost-effective way to identify molecular markers at nearly single-gene density, and is equally applicable to any non-model taxa.
Phylogenetic analyses suggest that violations of "Dollos law"--that is, re-evolution of lost complex structures--do occur, albeit infrequently. However, the genetic basis of such reversals has not been examined. Here, we address this question using the Drosophila sex comb, a recently evolved, male-specific morphological structure composed of modified bristles. In some species, sex comb development involves only the modification of individual bristles, while other species have more complex "rotated" sex combs that are shaped by coordinated migration of epithelial tissues. Rotated sex combs were lost in the ananassae species subgroup and subsequently re-evolved, ?12 million years later, in Drosophila bipectinata and its sibling species. We examine the genetic basis of the differences in sex comb morphology between D. bipectinata and D. malerkotliana, a closely related species with a much simpler sex comb representing the ancestral condition. QTL mapping reveals that >50% of this difference is controlled by one chromosomal inversion that covers ?5% of the genome. Several other, larger inversions do not contribute appreciably to the phenotype. This genetic architecture suggests that rotating sex combs may have re-evolved through changes in relatively few genes. We discuss potential developmental mechanisms that may allow lost complex structures to be regained.
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