Journal of Molecular Evolution 69(2) , 194-202 (Aug 2009)
Genes with overlapping expression and function may gradually diverge despite retaining some common functions. To test whether such genes show distinct patterns of molecular evolution within species, we examined sequence variation at the bric A brac (bab) locus of Drosophila melanogaster. This locus is composed of two anciently duplicated paralogs, bab1 and bab2, which are involved in patterning the adult abdomen, legs, and ovaries. We have sequenced the 148 kb genomic region spanning the bab1 and bab2 genes from 94 inbred lines of D. melanogaster sampled from a single location. Two non-coding regions, one in each paralog, appear to be under selection. The strongest evidence of directional selection is found in a region of bab2 that has no known functional role. The other region is located in the bab1 paralog and is known to contain a cis-regulatory element that controls sex-specific abdominal pigmentation. The coding region of bab1 appears to be under stronger functional constraint than the bab2 coding sequences. Thus, the two paralogs are evolving under different selective regimes in the same natural population, illuminating the different evolutionary trajectories of partially redundant duplicate genes.