Mitochondrial DNA variation and genetic structure in populations of Drosophila melanogaster.
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The understanding of the genetic structure of a species can be improved by considering together data from different types of genetic markers. In the past, a number of worldwide populations of Drosophila melanogaster have been extensively studied for several such markers, including allozymes, chromosomal inversions, and quantitative characters. Here we present results from a study of restriction-fragment-length polymorphisms of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in 92 isofemale lines from many of the same geographic populations of D. melanogaster. Eleven restriction enzymes were used, of which four revealed restriction-site polymorphism. A total of 24 different haplotypes were observed, of which 18 were unique to single populations. In many populations, the unique haplotypes have reached high frequency without being observed in neighboring populations. A Wagner parsimony tree reveals that mutationally close variants show geographical clumping, suggesting local differentiation of mtDNA in populations. The Old-World and the New-World populations are differentiated, with the predominant Old-World haplotype being virtually absent from the New World. These results contrast with those for the nuclear genes, in which many loci show parallel clines in different continents, and suggest a common origin of D. melanogaster populations in North America.
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