Adaptive gene expression divergence inferred from population genomics Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Adaptation, Biological
  • Drosophila
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genomics


  • Detailed studies of individual genes have shown that gene expression divergence often results from adaptive evolution of regulatory sequence. Genome-wide analyses, however, have yet to unite patterns of gene expression with polymorphism and divergence to infer population genetic mechanisms underlying expression evolution. Here, we combined genomic expression data--analyzed in a phylogenetic context--with whole genome light-shotgun sequence data from six Drosophila simulans lines and reference sequences from D. melanogaster and D. yakuba. These data allowed us to use molecular population genetics to test for neutral versus adaptive gene expression divergence on a genomic scale. We identified recent and recurrent adaptive evolution along the D. simulans lineage by contrasting sequence polymorphism within D. simulans to divergence from D. melanogaster and D. yakuba. Genes that evolved higher levels of expression in D. simulans have experienced adaptive evolution of the associated 3' flanking and amino acid sequence. Concomitantly, these genes are also decelerating in their rates of protein evolution, which is in agreement with the finding that highly expressed genes evolve slowly. Interestingly, adaptive evolution in 5' cis-regulatory regions did not correspond strongly with expression evolution. Our results provide a genomic view of the intimate link between selection acting on a phenotype and associated genic evolution.

publication date

  • October 2007



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC2042001

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030187

PubMed ID

  • 17967066

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2007

end page

  • 13


  • 3


  • 10