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Climate Research

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CR 43:103-114 (2010)  -  DOI:

Climate change and chromosomal inversions in Drosophila subobscura

Enrico L. Rezende1,*, Joan Balanyà2, Francisco Rodríguez-Trelles1, Carla Rego1, Inês Fragata3, Margarida Matos3, Luis Serra2, Mauro Santos1

1Departament de Genètica i de Microbiologia, Grup de Biologia Evolutiva (GBE), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,
08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain
2Departament de Genètica, Grup de Biologia Evolutiva (GBE), Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08071 Barcelona, Spain
3Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Departamento de Biologia Animal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal

ABSTRACT: In natural populations, the large changes in chromosomal structure occurring through chromosomal inversions show pronounced variations in frequency that often correspond to temporal and spatial climatic trends, which suggests that they may be employed to monitor the impact of global warming. Here we review and update the evidence on the association between chromosomal inversions and climate in D. subobscura, which provides one of the best studied models in this context. Chromosomal inversion frequencies of D. subobscura populations vary predictably with latitude, and this association has evolved independently in Europe and South and North America. They also exhibit clear seasonal trends that are consistent with temperature fluctuations. More importantly, latitudinal clines in chromosomal inversion frequencies seem to be responding to the global rise in mean temperatures in all continents. We analyze the relevance of these results in the light of climate change, and discuss how a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying these patterns may contribute to our knowledge on the impacts of global warming in biological systems.

KEY WORDS: Chromosomal inversions · Latitudinal clines · Thermal adaptation · Global warming

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Cite this article as: Rezende EL, Balanyà J, Rodríguez-Trelles F, Rego C and others (2010) Climate change and chromosomal inversions in Drosophila subobscura. Clim Res 43:103-114.

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