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Evolution. 2000 Feb;54(1):238-44.

Direct and correlated responses to artificial selection on acute thermal stress tolerance in a livebearing fish.

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  • 1Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306, USA.


Tradeoffs in performance or fitness across environments have important implications regarding the nature of evolutionary constraints. It remains controversial whether tradeoffs such as these reflect genetic correlations that are genuine evolutionary constraints. However, if such long-term genetic constraints do exist, they must be due to underlying pleiotropy such that alleles that confer high performance in one environment invariably confer low performance in another. The distribution of genetic correlations within and among populations can provide insight about the existence of such pleiotropic tradeoffs. The long-term association of certain teleost fish taxa with particular abiotic environments suggests that tradeoffs in performance across environments have constrained the geographic distribution of those taxa. Here we report the results of an experiment in which we artificially selected on acute heat- and cold-stress tolerance in two stocks of the poeciliid fish Heterandria formosa from source populations with different thermal histories. Unexpectedly, we observed no direct responses to selection. Under certain conditions, fish from the different source populations differed significantly in cold tolerance, but not in heat tolerance. The results suggest there are no strong pleiotropic tradeoffs between heat- and cold-stress tolerance in these populations.

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