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J Exp Biol. 2007 Aug;210(Pt 15):2649-56.

Critical thermal maxima in knockdown-selected Drosophila: are thermal endpoints correlated?

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Department of Biology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187, USA.


To explore the correlation of traits linked to thermotolerance, we compared three thermal endpoints (knockdown temperature and two critical thermal maxima) among replicate populations of Drosophila melanogaster selected for high, or low, knockdown temperature. The high knockdown flies maintain normal posture and locomotor ability within a knockdown column at temperatures >or=40 degrees C, whereas the low knockdown flies fall out of the column at much cooler temperatures (approximately 35 degrees C, on average). The critical thermal maximum (CT(max)) for respiratory control in the selected knockdown populations was determined by analyzing CO(2) output of individuals during exposure to a temperature ramp (from 30 degrees C to >45 degrees C) and was indicated by an abrupt alteration in the pattern of CO(2) release. The CT(max) for locomotor function was determined by monitoring activity (concurrent with CO(2) analysis) during the temperature ramp and was marked by the abrupt cessation of activity. We hypothesized that selection for high knockdown temperature may cause an upward shift in CT(max), whereas selection for low knockdown may lower CT(max). Correlations among the three thermal endpoints varied between the high and low knockdown flies. Finally, we compared metabolic profiles, as well as Q(10) values, among the high and low knockdown males and females during the temperature ramp.

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