Earlier this year, researchers in David J. Begun, Ph.D.'s lab at UC Davis reported that they had uncovered 142 de novo genes that originated in the ancestral non-coding DNA sequences and are segregating in Drosophila melanogaster populations.
Dr. Begun and postdoctoral scientist Li Zhao, Ph.D., identified de novo genes by comparing the RNA transcripts of the testes of several wild-derived strains of D. melanogaster to the standard reference genome for this fly species and to the RNA transcripts and genomes of two other Drosophila species.
Their results suggested that these genes may play an important role in Drosophila male reproduction. The UC Davis scientists, who were the first to investigate whether de novo genes spread through a species, next turned their attention to females.
They conducted a systematic search for de novo genes that were expressed in female Drosophila flies and determined that these genes appear to derive primarily from ancestral intergenic sequences, which is similar to the case for male-biased de novo genes.
At the GSA Drosophila Research Conference, Dr. Zhao will report about the female-expressed de novo genes. The population genetics and role of selection on these genes will also be discussed.
"Female-expressed de novo genes in Drosophila." Li Zhao, David J. Begun.
Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional scientific society for genetics researchers and educators. The Society's more than 5,000 members worldwide work to deepen our understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics, from the molecular to the population level. GSA promotes research and fosters communication through a number of GSA-‐sponsored conferences including regular meetings that focus on particular model organisms. GSA publishes two peer-‐reviewed, peer-edited scholarly journals: GENETICS, which has published high quality original research across the breadth of the field since 1916, and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open-access journal launched in 2011 to disseminate high quality foundational research in genetics and genomics. The society also has a deep commitment to education and fostering the next generation of scholars in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit http://www.