Idiosyncratic evolution of maternal effects in response to juvenile malnutrition in Drosophila.


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Maternal effects often affect fitness traits, but there is little experimental evidence pertaining to their contribution to response to selection imposed by novel environments. We studied the evolution of maternal effects in Drosophila populations selected for tolerance to chronic larval malnutrition. To this end, we performed pairwise reciprocal F-1 crosses between six selected (malnutrition tolerant) populations and six unselected control populations and assessed the effect of cross direction on larval growth and developmental rate, adult weight and egg-to-adult viability expressed under the malnutrition regime. Each pair of reciprocal crosses revealed large maternal effects (possibly including cytoplasmic genetic effects) on at least one trait, but the magnitude, sign and which traits were affected varied among populations. Thus, maternal effects contributed significantly to the response to selection imposed by the malnutrition regime, but these changes were idiosyncratic, suggesting a rugged adaptive landscape. Furthermore, although the selected populations evolved both faster growth and higher viability, the maternal effects on growth rate and viability were negatively correlated across populations. Thus, genes mediating maternal effects can evolve to partially counteract the response to selection mediated by the effects of alleles on their own carriers' phenotype, and maternal effects may contribute to evolutionary trade-offs between components of offspring fitness.
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Key words
experimental evolution,malnutrition tolerance,parental effects,repeatability of evolution,stress tolerance,trade-offs
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