The nasuta subgroup is a cluster of morphologically almost similar forms with a wide range of geographic distribution. During the last three decades nature of inter-relationship among the members has been investigated at different levels of organization. The phylogenetic relationships of the members of the nasuta subgroup of the immigrans species group of Drosophila was made by employing Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD), Inter Simple Sequence Repeats-PCR (ISSR-PCR) polymorphisms, mitochondrial 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA and Cytochrome C Oxidase subunit I (CoI) gene sequences. The phylogenetic tree generated by RAPD analysis is in nearly complete congruence with the classification based on morphophenotypic characters. The 12S and 16S rRNA genes were highly conserved across the nasuta subgroup and revealed only 3 and 4 variable sites respectively, of which only one site was informative. The CoI gene, on the other hand, revealed 57 variable sites of which 25 sites were informative. All the three species of orbital sheen complex were included in a major cluster in the phylogenetic trees derived from mitochondrial gene sequence data consistent with the morphophenotypic classification. The CoI analysis placed two species of frontal sheen complex, D. n. nasuta and D. n. albomicans in two different clades and this is inconsistent with morphological classification. The molecular clock suggested that divergence between the kohkoa complex and the albomicans complex occurred ~2.2 MYA, indicating recent evolution of the nasuta subgroup. The higher transition bias in the mitochondrial genes reported in the present study also suggested recent evolution of the nasuta subgroup.
2004 by The Genetics Society of Japan