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Genetics. 1994 Jul;137(3):783-9.

Genetic and maternal variation for heat resistance in Drosophila from the field.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Human Variation, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.


In Drosophila, field heritability estimates have focused on morphological traits and ignored maternal effects. This study considers heritable variation and maternal effects in a physiological trait, heat resistance. Drosophila were collected from the field in Melbourne, Australia. Resistance was determined using knock-down time at 37 degrees. Drosophila melanogaster was more resistant than Drosophila simulans, and males tended to be more resistant than females. Field heritability and maternal effects were examined in D. simulans using the regression of laboratory-reared F1 and F2 onto field-collected parents. Males from the field were crossed to a laboratory stock to obtain progeny. The additive genetic component to variation in heat resistance was large and significant, and heritability was estimated to be around 0.5. A large maternal effect was also evident. Comparisons of regression coefficients suggested that the maternal effect was not associated with cytoplasmic factors. There was no correlation between body size (as measured by wing length) and heat resistance. Unlike in the case of morphological traits, the heritability for heat resistance in nature is not less than that measured in the laboratory.

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