Molecular Phylogeny of the Drosophila melanogaster Species Subgroup

Wen Ya Ko, Ryan M. David, Hiroshi Akashi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Although molecular and phenotypic evolution have been studied extensively in Drosophila melanogaster and its close relatives, phylogenetic relationships within the D. melanogaster species subgroup remain unresolved. In particular, recent molecular studies have not converged on the branching orders of the D. yakuba-D. teissieri and D. erecta-D. orena species pairs relative to the D. melanogaster-D. simulans-D. mauritiana-D. sechellia species complex. Here, we reconstruct the phylogeny of the melanogaster species subgroup using DNA sequence data from four nuclear genes. We have employed "vectorette PCR" to obtain sequence data for orthologous regions of the Alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh), Alcohol dehydrogenase related (Adhr), Glucose dehydrogenase (Gld), and rosy (ry) genes (totaling 7164 bp) from six melanogaster subgroup species (D. melanogaster, D. simulans, D. teissieri, D. yakuba, D. erecta, and D. orena) and three species from subgroups outside the melanogaster species subgroup [D. eugracilis (eugracilis subgroup), D. mimetica (suzukii subgroup), and D. lutescens (takahashii subgroup)]. Relationships within the D. simulans complex are not addressed. Phylogenetic analyses employing maximum parsimony, neighbor-joining, and maximum likelihood methods strongly support a D. yakuba-D. teissieri and D. erecta-D. orena clade within the melanogaster species subgroup. D. eugracilis is grouped closer to the melanogaster subgroup than a D. mimetica-D. lutescens clade. This tree topology is supported by reconstructions employing simple (single parameter) and more complex (nonreversible) substitution models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-573
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Alcohol dehydrogenase related
  • Drosophila melanogaster species subgroup
  • Glucose dehydrogenase
  • Phylogeny
  • Rosy


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