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Dietary protein content affects evolution for body size, body fat and viability in Drosophila melanogaster

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The ability to use different food sources is likely to be under strong selection if organisms are faced with natural variation in macro-nutrient (protein, carbohydrate and lipid) availabilities. Here, we use experimental evolution to study how variable dietary protein content affects adult body composition and developmental success in Drosophila melanogaster. We reared flies on either a standard diet or a protein-enriched diet for 17 generations before testing them on both diet types. Flies from lines selected on protein-rich diet produced phenotypes with higher total body mass and relative lipid content when compared with those selected on a standard diet, irrespective of which of the two diets they were tested on. However, selection on protein-rich diet incurred a cost as flies reared on this diet had markedly lower developmental success in terms of egg-to-adult viability on both medium types, suggesting a possible trade-off between the traits investigated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology Letters
Pages (from-to)269-272
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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