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Kim, J. (2001). Macro-evolution of the hairy enhancer in Drosophila species.  J. exp. Zool. 291(B. Molec. Dev. Evol.): 175--185.
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It has been suggested that many of the changes in the developmental program might be in the cis-acting promoters and enhancer regions. Here I study the macro-evolutionary changes of an enhancer region for the early developmental gene hairy in Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans, D. pseudoobscura, D. willistoni, D. nebulosa, D. hydei, and D. virilis. The enhancer region is characterized by small, highly conserved blocks interspersed among highly variable regions. Nevertheless, species phylogenies constructed by the enhancer sequences agree with the widely accepted phylogeny of these species. The evolution of the variable regions is consistent with a molecular clock, while the evolution of the conserved blocks is significantly different from a clock. In particular, the D. pseudoobscura lineage shows the highest degree of species-specific change consistent with changes in expression timing reported in an earlier study. It has been suggested that the variation in sequence length between highly conserved blocks may play a role in the coordination of regulatory processes, such as protein-protein interactions; thus, stabilizing selection has been suggested to act on the length variations. Here I develop a test for stabilizing selection on length variation and show that the hairy enhancer does not show statistically significant evidence for stabilizing selection. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 291:175-185 , 2001.

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    J. exp. Zool.
    Journal of Experimental Zoology
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