A clinally varying promoter polymorphism associated with adaptive variation in wing size in Drosophila

Stephen William McKechnie, Mark Blacket, Sue Song, L Rako, Xavier Carroll, Travis Johnson, L Jensen, S Lee, C Wee, Ary Anthony Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Body size often shows adaptive clines in many ectotherms across altitude and latitude, but little is known about the genetic basis of these adaptive clines. Here we identify a polymorphism in the Dca (Drosophila cold acclimation) gene in Drosophila melanogaster that influences wing size, affects wing: thorax allometry and also controls a substantial proportion of the clinal wing-size variation. A polymorphism in the promoter region of Dca had two common alleles showing strong reciprocal clinal variation in frequency with latitude along the east coast of Australia. The Dca-237 allele increased towards the tropics where wing size is smaller. A within-population association study highlighted that an increase in the frequency of this allele decreased wing size but did not influence thorax size. A manipulated increase in the level of expression of Dca achieved through UAS-GAL4 was associated with a decrease in wing size but had no effect on thorax size. This was consistent with higher Dca expression levels in family lines with higher frequency of the Dca-237 allele. Genetic variation in the promoter region of the Dca gene appears to influence adaptive size variation in the eastern Australian cline of Drosophila melanogaster and accounts for more than 10 of the genetic variation in size within and between populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775 - 784
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Cite this