Skip to main content


We’d like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest.

Evolution caught in the act

Duplication, deletion and mutation have created a new gene, denoted Sdic, that encodes a fly sperm axoneme protein. Sdic is present in the fly Drosophila melanogaster, but not in its close relative Drosophila simulans. In the 5 January Science, Nurminsky et al. find evidence for a selective sweep around Sdic in D. melanogaster (Science 2001, 291:128-130). D. melanogaster DNA has a significant depression in the level of synonymous polymorphism around Sdic, and an increase in the occurrence of rare alleles, including singletons. In contrast, D. simulans DNA has a smooth distribution of polymorphisms in the equivalent region. The pattern in D. melanogaster suggests that strong selection and evolution is ongoing, displacing linked polymorphisms in the process. A similar analysis may be useful for identifying the locations of other recently selected genes.


  1. 1.

    Selective sweep of a newly evolved sperm-specific gene in Drosophila.

  2. 2.

    Science, []

  3. 3.

    The hitch-hiking effect of a favourable gene.

Download references


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wells, W. Evolution caught in the act. Genome Biol 2, spotlight-20010108-02 (2001).

Download citation


  • Rare Allele
  • Equivalent Region
  • Strong Selection
  • Selective Sweep
  • Significant Depression