Previous work



Splitting the paraphyletic genus Drosophila while preserving the name Drosophila melanogaster.

Kim van der Linde, Gerhard Bńchli, Masanori J. Toda, Wen-Xia Zhang, Toru Katoh, Yao-Guang Hu & Greg S. Spicer (Accepted)

Drosophila (Sophophora) melanogaster Meigen, 1830 is undoubtedly one of the most-studied model organisms, so widely known that it is often referred to by its genus name alone. The genus Drosophila FallÚn, 1823, (type species Musca funebris Fabricius, 1787) is the most species-rich genus (approximately 1500 species) in the family Drosophilidae. Both the genus and the subgenus Drosophila are very heterogeneous, as was already recognised in early studies by researchers such as Sturtevant, Hsu, Malogolowkin and Throckmorton. Many studies have been carried out in the 15 years since the last family-wide revision by Grimaldi and combining these studies shows that the genus Drosophila is paraphyletic, as at least eight other genera are placed within this genus. To resolve this issue, we have split the genus into its major clades resulting in four large genera, as well as several smaller genera. However, because the name D. melanogaster is used so extensively that renaming it Sophophora melanogaster is infeasible, we have asked the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to preserve the name Drosophila melanogaster by setting aside all current type designations and to designate D. melanogaster the new type species of the genus Drosophila. This revision of the genus brings the taxonomy of this section in the Drosophilidae in line with modern taxonomic practises while at the same time enhances our understanding of the phylogenetic relationships in this important group of species.

Case 3407. Drosophila FallÚn, 1823 (Insecta, Diptera): proposed conservation of usage. (2007)

Kim van der Linde, Gerhard Bńchli, Masanori J. Toda, Wen-Xia Zhang, Toru Katoh, Yao-Guang Hu & Greg S. Spicer

Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, Announcement: 64(2): 77; Published: 64(4): 238-242. Reprint: , additional references:

The purpose of this application, under Article 70.2 of the Code, is to conserve the current usage of the widely used name Drosophila FallÚn, 1823 (a genus of flies widely used in biological research, particularly in genetics and developmental biology) by the designation of Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830 as the type species of Drosophila. Detailed phylogenetic studies show that the genus Drosophila as currently defined is paraphyletic. Splitting the genus requires that the subgenus Sophophora Sturtevant, 1939 must be ranked as a separate genus. The type species of Sophophora is by original designation Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830. Ranking Sophophora as a genus and changing the name of Drosophila melanogaster to Sophophora melanogaster would result in major nomenclatural instability since a vast number of publications refer only to 'Drosophila' when 'Drosophila melanogaster' is actually meant; the two names are used interchangeably. It is therefore proposed that Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830 is designated as the type species of Drosophila.

Note: The application erroneously indicates FallÚn 1832, it should be FallÚn 1823.