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Evolution. 2017 Nov;71(11):2572-2583. doi: 10.1111/evo.13327. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Pervasive gene expression responses to a fluctuating diet in Drosophila melanogaster: The importance of measuring multiple traits to decouple potential mediators of life span and reproduction.

Author information

1
Plant Sciences Group, Laboratory of Genetics, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
2
Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 5PL, United Kingdom.
3
Evolutionary Biology Group, Institute Biology Leiden, Leiden University, Rapenburg 58, 2311 EZ, Leiden, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Zoology, University Museum of Zoology Cambridge, University of Cambridge, CB2 3EJ Cambridge, United Kingdom.
5
Center for Healthy Aging, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3B, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity is an important concept in life-history evolution, and most organisms, including Drosophila melanogaster, show a plastic life-history response to diet. However, little is known about how these life-history responses are mediated. In this study, we compared adult female flies fed an alternating diet (yoyo flies) with flies fed a constant low (CL) or high (CH) diet and tested how whole genome expression was affected by these diet regimes and how the transcriptional responses related to different life-history traits. We showed that flies were able to respond quickly to diet fluctuations throughout life span by drastically changing their transcription. Importantly, by measuring the response of multiple life-history traits we were able to decouple groups of genes associated with life span or reproduction, life-history traits that often covary with a diet change. A coexpression network analysis uncovered which genes underpin the separate and shared regulation of these life-history traits. Our study provides essential insights to help unravel the genetic architecture mediating life-history responses to diet, and it shows that the flies' whole genome transcription response is highly plastic.

KEYWORDS:

Fecundity; gene regulatory networks; life span regulation; phenotypic plasticity; trade-offs

PMID:
28833068
DOI:
10.1111/evo.13327
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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