Rapid evolution of male-biased gene expression in Drosophila

Colin D. Meiklejohn, John Parsch, José M. Ranz, Daniel L. Hartl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

249 Scopus citations


A number of genes associated with sexual traits and reproduction evolve at the sequence level faster than the majority of genes coding for non-sex-related traits. Whole genome analyses allow this observation to be extended beyond the limited set of genes that have been studied thus far. We use cDNA microarrays to demonstrate that this pattern holds in Drosophila for the phenotype of gene expression as well, but in one sex only. Genes that are male-biased in their expression show more variation in relative expression levels between conspecific populations and two closely related species than do female-biased genes or genes with sexually monomorphic expression patterns. Additionally, elevated ratios of interspecific expression divergence to intraspecific expression variation among male-biased genes suggest that differences in rates of evolution may be due in part to natural selection. This finding has implications for our understanding of the importance of sexual dimorphism for speciation and rates of phenotypic evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9894-9899
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 19 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Interspecific variation
  • Intraspecific variation
  • Microarray
  • cDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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