New lab publication in PLoS Genetics

We have discovered and characterized in detail several naturally occurring independent transposable element insertions in the promoter region of a cold-stress response gene in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. The nine transposable element insertions described are clustered in a small 368 bp region and all belong to the same family of transposable elements: the roo family. Each individual insertion is present at relatively low population frequencies, ranging from 1% to 17%. However, the majority of strains analyzed contain one of these nine roo insertions suggesting that this region might be evolving under positive selection. Although the sequence of these insertions is highly similar, their molecular and functional consequences are different. Only one of them, FBti0019985, is associated with increased viability in nonstress and in cold-stress conditions. Multiple independent insertions of transposable elements in the promoter of a stress gene have only been described once before in the Drosophila melanogaster genome. This work has been published in PLoS Genetics.

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