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J Evol Biol. 2012 Feb;25(2):378-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02428.x. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

Evolution of starvation resistance in Drosophila melanogaster: measurement of direct and correlated responses to artificial selection.

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The University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, KS, USA


Laboratory selection for resistance to starvation has been conducted under relatively controlled conditions to investigate direct and correlated responses to artificial selection. With regard to starvation resistance, there are three physiological routes by which the trait can evolve: resource accumulation, energy conservation and starvation tolerance. A majority of energetic compounds and macromolecules including triglycerides, trehalose and other sugars, and soluble protein increased in abundance as a result of selection. Movement was additionally investigated with selected males moving less than control males and selected females exhibiting a similar response to selection. Results obtained from this study supported two of the possible evolutionary mechanisms for adaptation to starvation: energy compound storage and conservation. If the response to selection is based on an evolutionarily conserved pattern of genetic correlations (elevated lipid, elevated sugars and reduced movement), then the response to selection is medically relevant and the genetic architecture should be investigated in depth.

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