Mar 29, 2008

Genotype-by-environment interactions and adaptation to local temperature affect immunity and fecundity in Drosophila melanogaster

PLoS Pathogens
Brian P LazzaroChristopher P Yourth


Natural populations of most organisms harbor substantial genetic variation for resistance to infection. The continued existence of such variation is unexpected under simple evolutionary models that either posit direct and continuous natural selection on the immune system or an evolved life history "balance" between immunity and other fitness traits in a constant environment. However, both local adaptation to heterogeneous environments and genotype-by-environment interactions can maintain genetic variation in a species. In this study, we test Drosophila melanogaster genotypes sampled from tropical Africa, temperate northeastern North America, and semi-tropical southeastern North America for resistance to bacterial infection and fecundity at three different environmental temperatures. Environmental temperature had absolute effects on all traits, but there were also marked genotype-by-environment interactions that may limit the global efficiency of natural selection on both traits. African flies performed more poorly than North American flies in both immunity and fecundity at the lowest temperature, but not at the higher temperatures, suggesting that the African population is maladapted to low temperature. In contrast, there was n...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
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