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Flies evolved small bodies and cells at high or fluctuating temperatures

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Recent theory predicts that the sizes of cells will evolve according to fluctuations in body temperature. Smaller cells speed metabolism during periods of warming but require more energy to maintain

Recent theory predicts that the sizes of cells will evolve according to fluctuations in body temperature. Smaller cells speed metabolism during periods of warming but require more energy to maintain and repair. To evaluate this theory, we studied the evolution of cell size in populations of Drosophila melanogaster held at either a constant temperature (16°C or 25°C) or fluctuating temperatures (16 and 25°C). Populations that evolved at fluctuating temperatures or a constant 25°C developed smaller thoraxes, wings, and cells than did flies exposed to a constant 16°C. The cells of flies from fluctuating environments were intermediate in size to those of flies from constant environments. Most genetic variation in cell size was independent of variation in wing size, suggesting that cell size was a target of selection. These evolutionary patterns accord with patterns of developmental plasticity documented previously. Future studies should focus on the mechanisms that underlie the selective advantage of small cells at high or fluctuating temperatures.

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Date Created
  • 2016-10-12

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Flight Performance Under Temperature Extremes of Thermally Evolved Drosophila Melanogaster

Description

Species survive by adapting to what is demanded by their environment. In constant and fluctuating environments, specialist and generalists should be favored, respectively. However, the costs and benefits of adaptation

Species survive by adapting to what is demanded by their environment. In constant and fluctuating environments, specialist and generalists should be favored, respectively. However, the costs and benefits of adaptation can depend on a variety of factors that alter the intensity of the specialist-generalist trade-off. We examined flight performance to determine how well flies that evolved in constant and fluctuating temperatures acclimated to hot and cold temperatures. We predicted that flies would perform best at temperatures most similar to the ones the flies evolved at. Best performance was found when rearing and testing temperatures aligned with the temperature at which a genotype had evolved, with the generalist sharing the best and worst performance combination with the constant thermally evolved flies. Interestingly, evolved and reared temperatures had equal impact on flight performance. It was also observed that rearing at 25°C resulted in flies with the best fitness. These results contribute to the specialist-generalist theory and the idea that long term cold development is restricting in terms of range for thermal performance.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05