LHP is a suitable protein for studying evolution in flies (Diptera). This blood protein, which occurs at high concentration late in larval development, was purified to homogeneity from 5 species of Drosophilidae and one species each of Tephritidae and Calliphoridae. Rabbit antisera to the purified LHPs allowed immunological comparisons to be made with the micro-complement fixation technique. Various indirect tests indicated that immunological distance is a reliable estimator of the degree of amino acid sequence difference between LHPs from different species. An evolutionary tree for the 7 LHPs was constructed from the immunological distances with the method of Fitch and Margoliash (1967) to provide the branching order and the method of Chakraborty (1977) to provide the branch lengths. A modified method of tree construction allowed LHPs from 10 additional species to be attached to this tree. The resulting LHP tree for 17 species agrees approximately in branching order with that based on Throckmorton's study of 60 anatomical traits. However, the ratio of anatomical change to LHP change along branches within the tree varies widely, confirming the independence of organismal and molecular evolution. The LHP tree thus provides a new perspective on evolution within and among the families of higher Diptera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1982


  • Anatomical vs. protein evolution
  • Cyclorrhaphan relationships
  • Molecular evolutionary trees


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