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BMC Evol Biol. 2015 Mar 21;15:51. doi: 10.1186/s12862-015-0323-3.

Opposite environmental and genetic influences on body size in North American Drosophila pseudoobscura.

Author information

1
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Biosciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK. m.l.taylor@exeter.ac.uk.
2
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Biosciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK. a.skeats@exeter.ac.uk.
3
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Biosciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK. a.wilson@exeter.ac.uk.
4
Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZB, UK. t.price@liverpool.ac.uk.
5
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Biosciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK. n.wedell@exeter.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Populations of a species often differ in key traits. However, it is rarely known whether these differences are associated with genetic variation and evolved differences between populations, or are instead simply a plastic response to environmental differences experienced by the populations. Here we examine the interplay of plasticity and direct genetic control by investigating temperature-size relationships in populations of Drosophila pseudoobscura from North America. We used 27 isolines from three populations and exposed them to four temperature regimes (16°C, 20°C, 23°C, 26°C) to examine environmental, genetic and genotype-by-environment sources of variance in wing size.

RESULTS:

By far the largest contribution to variation in wing size came from rearing temperature, with the largest flies emerging from the coolest temperatures. However, we also found a genetic signature that was counter to this pattern as flies originating from the northern, cooler population were consistently smaller than conspecifics from more southern, warmer populations when reared under the same laboratory conditions.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that local selection on body size appears to be acting counter to the environmental effect of temperature. We find no evidence that local adaptation in phenotypic plasticity can explain this result, and suggest indirect selection on traits closely linked with body size, or patterns of chromosome inversion may instead be driving this relationship.

PMID:
25887658
PMCID:
PMC4374297
DOI:
10.1186/s12862-015-0323-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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