Olfactory gene evolution in flies - paper out now

Just published!

Kate Shaw’s PhD findings have provided a remarkable example of evolution in action - A gene called Or22 which is required for fruit flies to smell certain odours - exists in natural populations of flies as either a closely related gene pair sitting next to each other in the genome, where only one funtions, or as a chimera gene where the pair are perfectly fused leaving a single gene.

Kate found that flies with the chimera sense a suite of fruity odours very differently to flies carrying the two Or22 genes. This suggests that wild flies, depending upon their genetic makeup are likely to be experiencing fruit smells very differently to each other - which in turn suggests that this gene may play a big role in how flies adapt to different climates where different foods (with different smells) are found.

Check out the paper here!