DOI: 10.1101/518951Jan 13, 2019Paper

Genomic evidence of genetic variation with pleiotropic effects on caterpillar fitness and plant traits in a model legume

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Zachariah GompertLauren K Lucas


Plant-insect interactions are ubiquitous, and have been studied intensely because of their relevance to damage and pollination in agricultural plants, and to the ecology and evolution of biodiversity. Variation within species can affect the outcome of these interactions, such as whether an insect successfully develops on a plant species. Whereas specific genes and chemicals that mediate these interactions have been identified, studies of genome- or metabolome-wide intraspecific variation might be necessary to better explain patterns of host-plant use and adaptation often observed in the wild. Here, we present such a study. Specifically, we assess the consequences of genome-wide genetic variation in the model plant Medicago truncatula for Lycaeides melissa caterpillar growth and survival (i.e., larval performance). Using a rearing experiment and a whole-genome SNP data set (>5 million SNPs), we show that polygenic variation in M. truncatula explains 9--41% of the observed variation in caterpillar growth and survival. We detect genetic correlations among caterpillar performance and other plant traits, such as structural defenses and some anonymous chemical features; these genetic correlations demonstrate that multiple M. truncatu...Continue Reading

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Biological Evolution
Plant Leaves
Medicago truncatula

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