1. Genetics and Genomics
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Genetic architecture of natural variation in cuticular hydrocarbon composition in Drosophila melanogaster

  1. Lauren M Dembeck
  2. Katalin Böröczky
  3. Wen Huang
  4. Coby Schal
  5. Robert RH Anholt
  6. Trudy FC Mackay  Is a corresponding author
  1. Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Japan
  2. Cornell University, United States
  3. North Carolina State University, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e09861 doi: 10.7554/eLife.09861

Abstract

Insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) prevent desiccation and serve as chemical signals that mediate social interactions. Drosophila melanogaster CHCs have been studied extensively, but the genetic basis for individual variation in CHC composition is largely unknown. We quantified variation in CHC profiles in the D. melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) and identified novel CHCs. We used principal component (PC) analysis to extract PCs that explain the majority of CHC variation and identified polymorphisms in or near 305 and 173 genes in females and males, respectively, associated with variation in these PCs. In addition, 17 DGRP lines contain the functional Desat2 allele characteristic of African and Caribbean D. melanogaster females (more 5,9-C27:2 and less 7,11-C27:2, female sex pheromone isomers). Disruption of expression of 24 candidate genes affected CHC composition in at least one sex. These genes are associated with fatty acid metabolism and represent mechanistic targets for individual variation in CHC composition.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Lauren M Dembeck

    Ecology and Evolution Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Onna, Japan
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Katalin Böröczky

    Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Wen Huang

    Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Coby Schal

    Genetics Program, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Robert RH Anholt

    Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Trudy FC Mackay

    Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, United States
    For correspondence
    trudy_mackay@ncsu.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Daniel J Kliebenstein, University of California, Davis, Denmark

Publication history

  1. Received: July 3, 2015
  2. Accepted: November 12, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 14, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Accepted Manuscript updated: November 20, 2015 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record published: January 15, 2016 (version 3)

Copyright

© 2015, Dembeck et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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