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Chromosomal inversions promote genomic islands of concerted evolution of Hsp70 genes in the Drosophila subobscura species subgroup

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Heat-shock (HS) assays to understand the connection between standing inversion variation and evolutionary response to climate change in Drosophila subobscura found that "warm-climate" inversion O3+4 exhibits non-HS levels of Hsp70 protein like those of "cold-climate" OST after HS induction. This was unexpected, as overexpression of Hsp70 can incur multiple fitness costs. To understand the genetic basis of this finding, we have determined the genomic sequence organization of the Hsp70 family in four different inversions, including OST , O3+4 , O3+4+8 and O3+4+16 , using as outgroups the remainder of the subobscura species subgroup, namely Drosophila madeirensis and Drosophila guanche. We found (i) in all the assayed lines, the Hsp70 family resides in cytological locus 94A and consists of only two genes, each with four HS elements (HSEs) and three GAGA sites on its promoter. Yet, in OST , the family is comparatively more compact; (ii) the two Hsp70 copies evolve in concert through gene conversion, except in D. guanche; (iii) within D. subobscura, the rate of concerted evolution is strongly structured by inversion, being higher in OST than in O3+4 ; and (iv) in D. guanche, the two copies accumulated multiple differences, including a newly evolved "gap-type" HSE2. The absence of concerted evolution in this species may be related to a long-gone-unnoticed observation that it lacks Hsp70 HS response, perhaps because it has evolved within a narrow thermal range in an oceanic island. Our results point to a previously unrealized link between inversions and concerted evolution, with potentially major implications for understanding genome evolution.

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