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Painting by numbers
Date:6/11/2013

tical methods were used to compare the differences between the two groups, leading to the discovery of 17 sites where variation, so-called single-nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs (pronounced "snips"), seemed to be associated with the extent of female abdominal pigmentation.

Effective method to study natural variation

Gratifyingly, the SNPs were found to lie in or close to genes known to be involved in pigment synthesis, in particular the tan and bric--brac1 genes. Most of the SNPs were not in the coding sequence of these genes but instead in nearby sequences that had previously been shown to regulate their activity. In other words, the variation in the colour of female flies is not a result of changes to the genes that produce pigments but stems instead from subtle alterations in the regulation of the pigmentation genes.Bastide and Betancourt are naturally excited by their findings. As they say, "Our work has taught us a lot about how pigment production can be controlled and at least some of our conclusions may apply to other species as well. But even more importantly, our experiments show that pooling and sequencing samples can represent an effective and low-cost method to examine the basis of natural variation in populations."


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Contact: Christian Schlötterer
christian.schloetterer@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-4300
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

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