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Genetics. 1983 Apr;103(4):725-39.

Adaptation at Specific Loci. III. Field Behavior and Survivorship Differences among Colias Pgi Genotypes Are Predictable from IN VITRO Biochemistry.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305 and The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Crested Butte, Colorado 81224.


Previous work on the phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI) polymorphism of Colias butterflies led to predictions concerning aspects of differential survivorship and fecundity among the polymorphic genotypes in the wild. Explicit assumptions underlying these predictions were that functional differences among genotypes at the in vitro biochemical level reflected roughly corresponding differences in vivo, and that the interaction of such differences with the thermal dependence of flight capacity was correctly understood. All those predictions tested were confirmed. We now report experimental designs for testing three more of these predictions. They concern both differential survivorship and the flight activity component of differential fecundity. We find, as predicted: (1) certain heterozygotes, kinetically most effective at low temperature, begin flight earlier in the day than do other genotypes (six replicates); (2) among the three most common genotypes, the order of kinetic effectiveness, i.e., 3/4 > 3/3 >> 4/4, is reflected in asymmetric order of heterotic advantage, 3/4 > 3/3 >> 4/4, in time of flight initiation, breadth of flight time and/or overall flight density through the day (six replicates); (3) under high temperature stress, the usual survivorship advantage of kinetically favored genotypes is reversed, and the three most thermally stable genotypes show better survivorship.--These results strengthen further the case for direct natural selection on this locus. Implications for population sampling practices, for studies of the adaptive organization of metabolism, and for studies of the interaction of genetic variation with patterns of environmental variability are discussed.

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