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J Therm Biol. 2000 Oct 1;25(5):345-351.

Cold tolerance in Drosophila: adaptive variations revealed by the analysis of starvation survival reaction norms.

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Laboratoire Populations, Génétique et Evolution, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 91198, Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France


Three species of Drosophila were investigated for their capacity to survive without food (starvation tolerance) at seven different temperatures ranging from 0 to 25 degrees C. In all cases biphasic response curves (reaction norms) were observed, corresponding either to special deleterious effects of cold or to a progressive exhaustion of reserves proportional to metabolic rate. The temperature at which survival was longest was called the threshold temperature. The position of the threshold exhibited adaptive changes, either due to acclimation in the same species, or to genetic variations evidenced between species. In D. melanogaster, adults grown at lower temperature (12 degrees C) were more tolerant to cold than adults grown at higher temperatures (21, 25 or 30 degrees C). This acclimation process shifted, in an adaptive way, the position of the threshold temperature from 6.2 to 7.5 degrees C. A comparison of three different species grown at a single developmental temperature (21 degrees C) revealed similar but greater adaptive differences in their threshold temperature: 4.8 degrees C in the temperate D. subobscura, 7 degrees C in the cosmopolitan D. melanogaster and 14.6 degrees C in the tropical D. ananassae.

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