Recurrent and recent selective sweeps in the piRNA pathway
Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology; Program in Molecular Medicine
Medical Subject Headings
DNA Transposable Elements; RNA, Small Interfering
Biochemistry | Evolution | Genetics and Genomics | Molecular Genetics
Uncontrolled transposable element (TE) insertions and excisions can cause chromosome breaks and mutations with dramatic deleterious effects. The PIWI interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway functions as an adaptive TE silencing system during germline development. Several essential piRNA pathway proteins appear to be rapidly evolving, suggesting that TEs and the silencing machinery may be engaged in a classical "evolutionary arms race." Using a variety of molecular evolutionary and population genetic approaches, we find that the piRNA pathway genes rhino, krimper, and aubergine show patterns suggestive of extensive recurrent positive selection across Drosophila species. We speculate that selection on these proteins reflects crucial roles in silencing unfamiliar elements during vertical and horizontal transmission of TEs into naive populations and species, respectively.
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Citation: Evolution. 2013 Apr;67(4):1081-90. doi: 10.1111/evo.12011. Epub 2013 Jan 17. Link to article on publisher's site
Simkin, Alfred; Wong, Alex; Poh, Yu-Ping; Theurkauf, William E.; and Jensen, Jeffrey D., "Recurrent and recent selective sweeps in the piRNA pathway" (2013). University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications. 110.