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Int J Evol Biol. 2012;2012:935970. doi: 10.1155/2012/935970. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Drosophila melanogaster Selection for Survival of Bacillus cereus Infection: Life History Trait Indirect Responses.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA.


To study evolved resistance/tolerance in an insect model, we carried out an experimental evolution study using D. melanogaster and the opportunistic pathogen B. cereus as the agent of selection. The selected lines evolved a 3.0- to 3.3-log increase in the concentration of spores required for 50% mortality after 18-24 generations of selection. In the absence of any treatment, selected lines evolved an increase in egg production and delayed development time. The latter response could be interpreted as a cost of evolution. Alternatively, delayed development might have been a target of selection resulting in increased adult fat body function including production of antimicrobial peptides, and, incidentally, yolk production for oocytes and eggs. When treated with autoclaved spores, the egg production difference between selected and control lines was abolished, and this response was consistent with the hypothesis of a cost of an induced immune response. Treatment with autoclaved spores also reduced life span in some cases and elicited early-age mortality in the selected and wound-control lines both of which were consistent with the hypothesis of a cost associated with induction of immune responses. In general, assays on egg production yielded key outcomes including the negative effect of autoclaved spores on egg production.

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