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Evolution. 2003 Aug;57(8):1852-62.

Simultaneous selection on two fitness-related traits in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana.

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Section of Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.


Theory about the role of constraints in evolution is abundant, but few empirical data exist to describe the consequences a bias in phenotypic variation has for micro evolution. Responses to natural selection can be severely hampered by a genetic correlation among a suite of traits. Constraints can be studied using antagonistic selection experiments, that is, two-trait selection in opposition to this correlation. The two traits studied here were development time and wing pattern (eyespot size) in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana, both of which have a clear adaptive significance. Rates of response were higher for eyespot size than for development time, but were independent of the concurrent selection (either in the same direction as the correlation or perpendicular to it). Regimes differed in both traits in all directions after 11 generations of selection. The uncoupling lines had higher relative responses than the synergistic lines in development time and equal relative responses in eyespot size. The patterns for eyespot size (reaction norms) were consistent across different rearing temperatures. Differences in lines selected for fast and slow development time were more pronounced at lower temperatures, irrespective of the direction of joint wing pattern selection. Furthermore, correlated responses in pupal weight and growth rate were observed; lines selected for a slower development had higher pupal weights, especially at lower temperatures. The response of the uncoupling lines was not hampered by a lack of selectable genetic variation, and the relative response in the development time was larger than expected based on response in the coupled direction and quantitative genetic predictions. This suggests that the structure of the genetic architecture does not constrain the short-term, independent evolution of both wing pattern and development time.

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