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Evolution of sexual dimorphism and behavior

Drosophila prolongata is an unique species not only for their morphology but also for mating and aggressive behaviors. Both females and males of D. prolongata have so-called "picture wing" that is comparable to those of Hawaiian Drosophila, but it is just a one of characters that make D. prolongata special. Only males of D. prolongata have enlarged forelegs, colored in black and white stripe. This male-specific morphology plays a critical role in male's behaviors, including fight between males, and courtship toward females (Aotsuka et al., unpublished observation). Because such morphological and behavioral characters are not observed in the sibling species, rapid evolution of relatively small number of loci might be responsible for D. prolongata evolution. To identify these loci, we are currently performing genome wide analysis using NGS. As far as seeing shotgun data obtained by GS-FLX next-generation sequencing, D. prolongata genomic sequence is surprisingly close to that of D. melanogaster, suggesting that functional examination of genes might be possible.

From 2011, this work is supported by two independent team research projects: "Genetic Bases for the Evolution of Complex Adaptive Traits" and "Genome Science", both sponsored by MEXT, Japan. In collaboration with several laboratories under these projects, comparative sequence analyses using HiSeq 2000 and GS-FLX (and also GS-Jr in some cases) are now ongoing. 

(Takashi Matsuo)