Identifying candidate genes affecting developmental time in Drosophila melanogaster: pervasive pleiotropy and gene-by-environment interaction

BMC Developmental Biology
Julián MenschJuan J Fanara


Understanding the genetic architecture of ecologically relevant adaptive traits requires the contribution of developmental and evolutionary biology. The time to reach the age of reproduction is a complex life history trait commonly known as developmental time. In particular, in holometabolous insects that occupy ephemeral habitats, like fruit flies, the impact of developmental time on fitness is further exaggerated. The present work is one of the first systematic studies of the genetic basis of developmental time, in which we also evaluate the impact of environmental variation on the expression of the trait. We analyzed 179 co-isogenic single P[GT1]-element insertion lines of Drosophila melanogaster to identify novel genes affecting developmental time in flies reared at 25 degrees C. Sixty percent of the lines showed a heterochronic phenotype, suggesting that a large number of genes affect this trait. Mutant lines for the genes Merlin and Karl showed the most extreme phenotypes exhibiting a developmental time reduction and increase, respectively, of over 2 days and 4 days relative to the control (a co-isogenic P-element insertion free line). In addition, a subset of 42 lines selected at random from the initial set of 179 lines ...Continue Reading


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