DOI: 10.1101/470898Nov 16, 2018Paper

Reproductive capacity evolves in response to ecology through common developmental mechanisms in Hawaiian Drosophila

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Didem P SarikayaCassandra G Extavour


Lifetime reproductive capacity, or the total number of offspring that an individual can give rise to in its lifetime, is a fitness component critical to the evolutionary process. In insects, female reproductive capacity is primarily determined by the number of ovarioles, the egg-producing subunits of the ovary. Recent work has provided insights into the genetic and environmental control of ovariole number in Drosophila melanogaster. However, whether regulatory mechanisms discovered under laboratory conditions can explain its evolutionary variation in natural populations is an outstanding question in evolutionary biology. Here we report, for the first time, insights into the mechanisms regulating ovariole number and its evolution among Hawaiian Drosophila, a large adaptive radiation of fruit flies that have evolved the highest and lowest ovariole numbers of the genus within 25 million years. Using comparative phylogenetic methods, we show that ovariole number variation among species with different food sources is best explained by adaptation to specific ecological niches. Further, we show that evolution of reliance on specific rare and ephemeral egg-laying substrates disrupts the allometric relationship between body size and ova...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Drosophila melanogaster
Biological Evolution
Evolution, Molecular
Hawaiian Population

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