Temporal mating isolation driven by a behavioral gene in Drosophila

Eran Tauber, Helen Roe, Rodolfo Costa, J. Michael Hennessy, Charalambos P. Kyriacou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Speciation is the evolutionary process in which new barriers to gene exchange are created [1]. These barriers may be physical, leading to spatial separation of subpopulations and resulting in allopatric speciation, or they may be temporal, giving rise to allochronic speciation [2], and may include the time of day or the time of year when mating takes place. Drosophila melanogaster and D. pseudoobscura show different temporal patterns of circadian locomotor activity that are determined by the circadian clock gene period (per) [3]. Genes that control aspects of behavior that might be relevant to courtship and mating, such as locomotor patterns [4, 5], become obvious candidates for involvement in the speciation process. However, evidence for the role of individual genes in the mechanism of mate choice has proved elusive. We have used transgenic flies carrying the natural per genes from these two Drosophila species to reveal that per has the potential to provide the permissive conditions for speciation, by affecting mate choice through a mechanism involving the species-specific timing of mating behavior [6].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 21 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge a European Community Marie Curie Fellowship to E.T., a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant and Royal Society grants to C.P.K., and the Commission of the European Communities and Ministerio dell'Universita e della Ricerca Scientifica e Technologia-British Council for grants to C.P.K. and R.C.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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