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Biol Lett. 2005 Mar 22;1(1):91-4.

Faster development does not lead to correlated evolution of greater pre-adult competitive ability in Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Behaviour, Ecology & Evolution Laboratory, Biology Department, Poornaprajna Institute of Scientific Research, P. O. Box 18, Devanahalli-562 110, Bangalore, India.

Erratum in

  • Biol Lett. 2005 Dec 22;1(4):509.


In comparisons across Drosophila species, faster pre-adult development is phenotypically correlated with increased pre-adult competitive ability, suggesting that these two traits may also be evolutionary correlates of one another. However, correlations between traits within- and among- species can differ, and in most cases it is the within-species genetic correlations that are likely to act as constraints on adaptive evolution. Moreover, laboratory studies on Drosophila melanogaster have shown that the suite of traits that evolves in populations subjected to selection for faster development is the opposite of the traits that evolve in populations selected for increased pre-adult competitive ability. This observation led us to propose that, despite having a higher carrying capacity and a reduced minimum food requirement for completing development than controls, D. melanogaster populations subjected to selection for faster development should have lower competitive ability than controls owing to their reduced larval feeding rates and urea tolerance. Here, we describe results from pre-adult competition experiments that clearly show that the faster developing populations are substantially poorer competitors than controls when reared at high density in competition with a marked mutant strain. We briefly discuss these results in the context of different formulations of density-dependent selection theory.

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