Population transcriptomics: insights from Drosophila simulans, Drosophila sechellia and their hybrids


  • Wurmser Francois
  • Ogereau David
  • Mary-Huard Tristan
  • Loriod Béatrice
  • Joly Dominique
  • Montchamp-Moreau Catherine


  • Expression differentiation
  • Population structure
  • Ecology
  • CYP450
  • Hormone regulation
  • Drosophila

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Sequence differentiation has been widely studied between populations and species, whereas interest in expression divergence is relatively recent. Using microarrays, we compared four geographically distinct populations of Drosophila simulans and a population of Drosophila sechellia, and interspecific hybrids. We observed few differences between populations, suggesting a slight population structure in D. simulans. This structure was observed in direct population comparisons, as well as in interspecific comparisons (hybrids vs. parents, D. sechellia vs. D. simulans). Expression variance is higher in the French and Zimbabwean populations than in the populations from the ancestral range of D. simulans (Kenya and Seychelles). This suggests a large scale phenomenon of decanalization following the invasion of a new environment. Comparing D. simulans and D. sechellia, we revealed 304 consistently differentially expressed genes, with striking overrepresentation of genes of the cytochrome P450 family, which could be related to their role in detoxification as well as in hormone regulation. We also revealed differences in genes involved in Juvenile hormone and Dopamine differentiation. We finally observed very few differentially expressed genes between hybrids and parental populations, with an overrepresentation of X-linked genes.

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