Differences in mating time between populations can give rise to premating reproductive isolation. Tephritid fruit flies exhibit large variation in mating time among intra- or inter-specific populations. We previously cloned the clock gene period from two strains of melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae; in one the individuals mate early during the day, whereas in the other the individuals mate later. These strains were originally established by divergent artificial selection for developmental time, short and long, with early and late mating times, respectively. The deduced amino acid sequences of PERIOD proteins for these two strains were reported to be identical. Here we cloned another clock gene cryptochrome (cry) from the two strains, and found two stable amino acid substitutions in the strains. In addition, the allele frequency at the two polymorphic sites of cry gene correlated with the circadian locomotor period () across strains, whereas the expression pattern of cry mRNA in the heads of flies taken from the short strain significantly differed from that from the long strain. These findings suggest that variation in the cry gene is related to differences in the circadian behaviour in the two strains, thus implying that the cry gene may have an important role in reproductive isolation.
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