Variation in trehalose sensitivity and nucleotide sequence polymorphism of the Gr5a gene encoding the gustatory receptor to sugar trehalose were investigated in 152 male lines of Drosophila melanogaster collected from a natural population. Among the observed 59 segregating sites, some pairs of sites showed significant linkage disequilibrium. A single SNP, which results in the Ala218Thr amino acid change, was significantly associated with trehalose sensitivity, as previously suggested. Threonine at amino acid position 218 was found to be the ancestral form in D. melanogaster, suggesting that low trehalose sensitivity was an ancestral form with respect to the receptor function. There was large genetic variation in trehalose sensitivity. It was continuously distributed, indicating that trehalose sensitivity measured by the behavioral assay is a quantitative trait. These results suggest that apart from the Gr5a gene, other genetic factors contribute to variation in trehalose sensitivity. Nucleotide diversity (π) and nucleotide variation (θ) per site were 0.00874 and 0.00590, respectively. Fu and Li's test and the MK test showed no significant departure from the expectation of selective neutrality in the Gr5a gene. However, we rejected selective neutrality by Tajima's test and Fay and Wu's test with the observed level of recombination. We discuss possible causes of the observed pattern of nucleotide variation in the gustatory receptor Gr5a gene.
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