Faunistics and populational genetics of Drosophilidae

Institute of Cytology and Genetics, SB RAS,
Novosibirsk State University, Faculty of Natural Sciences,
Department of Cytology and Genetics

Head of the Institute:

Vladimir K.Shumny, Academican of the RAS,
Tel.: 8-3832-333526, Fax: 8-3832-331278;
email: shumny@bionet.nsc.ru

Principal researchers:

I.K.Zakharov, Doctor of Biological Sciences,
Head of the Laboratory of Genetics of Populations,

Project objectives

Multiyear and systemic research of species diversity of Drosophila genera and monitoring of genetical variability in Eurasian populations from nature on the territory of the former Soviet Union (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Caucasian republics, North Caucasus, Tajikistan, Western Siberia, Far East) in the Laboratory of Genetics of Populations of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics has began from the beginning of the 60s. During this period, the principally novel data were obtained in the field of populational and general genetics concerning the inequality of mutation rate in native populations, the correlation between mutability bursts and mobile elements pattern, the distribution of genes-mutators within the population in nature and so on. However, there are some regions, for example, Western Siberia and Kazakhstan, in which the above mentioned aspects are poorly studied. The goal of the present Project is to study genetical variability and biological diversity of Drosophila populations in nature. Among the main research tasks are the studying of the species content of Drosophilidae at the territory of Eurasia, analysis of the distribution of mutations in natural populations in its spatial and temporal aspects.

Besides, monitoring of Drosophilidae species may serve as an indicator of the general ecological state of the environment and may reflect the extent of spontaneous mutagenesis under the pressure of different factors.

Background and significance of objectives

It is of common knowledge that Drosophilidae is one of the most favourable objects in the fields of molecular, general, populational genetics and the theory of evolution. Research projects performed with Drosophila melanogaster as an object have some advantages. First, this species belongs to the objects that are studied at most among eukaryotes from a genetical point of view. Secondly, this object is convenient for planning laboratory experiments involving specially constructed marker genetical strains. Besides, a series of methods have been developed for quantitative and qualitative estimation of genetical events (i.e., detection of different types of mutations, measurement of spontaneous and induced mutability, etc.). Moreover, results obtained for Drosophila can be extrapolated to the other organisms, which are inconvenient, or complicate, and sometimes, impossible to provide genetical studies and experiments. In addition, determining of regularities of microevolution in populations in the normal conditions serves as the necessary control for comparison with the results obtained under unstable or changing processes in the biosphere. So, the study of Drosophilidae species leads to revealing the general mechanisms of formation of the current state of biological variability, together with the possible ways of its origin. Systematics and faunistics of Drosophila genera, except the pure taxonomy aspect, is a necessary apparatus for studying of species formation and microevolutionary processes in native populations. Two directions of research are of detached interest: studying of Drosophila in natural and anthropogenic landscapes. The first supplies with the basic material for analysis of biological variability and the ways of its formation, that is, the macroevolutionary aspect of the study. The second is represented by studying the synantropic species populations and gives the clue to an understanding of the processes occurring within the species, thus, being the microevolutionary aspect.

The Laboratory of Genetics of Populations of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics has a rich collection of special strain-analysers for revealing and analysis of genetical variability; for evaluation of spontaneous and induced mutability. The preliminary data are obtained about distribution of synantropic species across the territory of the former Soviet Union. The data on genetical variability of Drosophila melanogaster in nature are available. The studies devoted to monitoring of populations from nature are performed during 35 years. This enabled to collect valuable data necessary to perform a comparative analysis of processes occurring in natural populations.

Research plan: approaches and methods

Within the frames of the Project, it is planned to analyse Drosophilidae species inhabiting the territory of Russia and adjacent countries, to make a collection of species, and to perform phenogenetical and genetical analyses. The description of populations will be made by commonly acceptable analyses of phenotype and genotype.

Expected results

The studying of genetical structure of Drosophilidae populations in nature will be performed. On this basis, comparative analysis of different Drosophilidae populations under the action of different factors will be performed. General mechanisms of evolving of biological variability in nature will be studied. The alterations of biological variation in Drosophilidae under anthropogenic influence will be described.

As a result of the Project, the catalogue of Drosophila species collection available on the territory of Russian Federation will be prepared.

List of publications of participants related to the project