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J Insect Physiol. 2014 Oct;69:95-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Gene-environment interplay in Drosophila melanogaster: chronic nutritional deprivation in larval life affects adult fecal output.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3B2, Canada.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3B2, Canada; Child and Brain Development Program, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Toronto, ON M5G 1ZB, Canada. Electronic address:


Life history consequences of stress in early life are varied and known to have lasting impacts on the fitness of an organism. Gene-environment interactions play a large role in how phenotypic differences are mediated by stressful conditions during development. Here we use natural allelic 'rover/sitter' variants of the foraging (for) gene and chronic early life nutrient deprivation to investigate gene-environment interactions on excretion phenotypes. Excretion assay analysis and a fully factorial nutritional regimen encompassing the larval and adult life cycle of Drosophila melanogaster were used to assess the effects of larval and adult nutritional stress on adult excretion phenotypes. Natural allelic variants of for exhibited differences in the number of fecal spots when they were nutritionally deprived as larvae and well fed as adults. for mediates the excretion response to chronic early-life nutritional stress in mated female, virgin female, and male rovers and sitters. Transgenic manipulations of for in a sitter genetic background under larval but not adult food deprivation increases the number of fecal spots. Our study shows that food deprivation early in life affects adult excretion phenotypes and these excretion differences are mediated by for.


Chronic nutritional deprivation; Drosophila melanogaster; Excretion; Gene-environment interaction; Life-history; foraging

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