Genome Size Evolution Differs Between Drosophila Subgenera with Striking Differences in Male and Female Genome Size in Sophophora. Academic Article uri icon


  • Genome size varies across the tree of life, with no clear correlation to organismal complexity or coding sequence, but with differences in non-coding regions. Phylogenetic methods have recently been incorporated to further disentangle this enigma, yet most of these studies have focused on widely diverged species. Few have compared patterns of genome size change in closely related species with known structural differences in the genome. As a consequence, the relationship between genome size and differences in chromosome number or inter-sexual differences attributed to XY systems are largely unstudied. We hypothesize that structural differences associated with chromosome number and X-Y chromosome differentiation, should result in differing rates and patterns of genome size change. In this study, we utilize the subgenera within the Drosophila to ask if patterns and rates of genome size change differ between closely related species with differences in chromosome numbers and states of the XY system. Genome sizes for males and females of 152 species are used to answer these questions (with 92 newly added or updated estimates). While we find no relationship between chromosome number and genome size or chromosome number and inter-sexual differences in genome size, we find evidence for differing patterns of genome size change between the subgenera, and increasing rates of change throughout time. Estimated shifts in rates of change in sex differences in genome size occur more often in Sophophora and correspond to known neo-sex events.

published proceedings

  • G3 (Bethesda)

altmetric score

  • 9.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Hjelmen, C. E., Blackmon, H., Holmes, V. R., Burrus, C. G., & Johnston, J. S.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Hjelmen, Carl E||Blackmon, Heath||Holmes, V Renee||Burrus, Crystal G||Johnston, J Spencer

publication date

  • January 2019