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Genetica. 2004 Oct;122(2):141-60.

Pleiotropic effects of methoprene-tolerant (Met), a gene involved in juvenile hormone metabolism, on life history traits in Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


Life history theory assumes that there are alleles with pleiotropic effects on fitness components. Although quantitative genetic data are often consistent with pleiotropy, there are few explicit examples of pleiotropic loci. The Drosophila melanogaster gene Methoprene-tolerant (Met) may be such a locus. The Met gene product, a putative juvenile hormone receptor, facilitates the action of juvenile hormone (JH) and JH analogs; JH affects many life history traits in arthropods. Here we use quantitative complementation to investigate effects of Met mutant and wildtype alleles on female developmental time, onset of reproduction, and fecundity. Whereas the alleles did not differ in their effects on developmental time, we detected allelic variation for the onset of reproduction and for age-specific fecundity. Alleles influenced phenotypic co-variances among traits (developmental time and onset of reproduction; onset of reproduction and both early and late fecundity; early and late fecundity), suggesting that alleles of Met vary in their pleiotropic effects upon life history. Furthermore, the genetic covariance between developmental time and early fecundity attributed to alleles of Met was negative, indicating consistent pleiotropic effects among alleles on these traits. The allelic effects of Met support genetic models where pleiotropy at genes associated with hormone regulation can contribute to the evolution of life history traits.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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