Can evolution of sexual dimorphism be triggered by developmental temperatures?

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  • Tarmo Ketola, Centre of Excellence in Evolutionary Research, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskyla, Finland
  • Torsten Nygård Kristensen
  • Vanessa M Kellermann, Danmark
  • Volker Loeschcke

Genetic prerequisites for the evolution of sexual dimorphism, sex-specific
heritabilities and low or negative genetic correlations between homologous
traits in males and females are rarely found. However, sexual dimorphism is
evolving rapidly following environmental change, suggesting that sexual
dimorphism and its genetic background could be environmentally sensitive.
Yet few studies have explored the sensitivity of the genetic background of
sexual dimorphism on environmental variation. In this study, on Drosophila
melanogaster, we used a large nested full-sib–half-sib breeding design where
families were split into four different developmental temperatures: two
constant temperature treatments of 25 and 30oC and two cycling temperatures
with means of 25 and 30oC, respectively. After emergence, we tested
heat shock tolerance of adult flies. We found that sexual dimorphism was
strongly affected by temperature during development. Moreover, we found
that female heritability was significantly lower in flies developing at hot
temperature and more so under hot and cycling temperatures. Interestingly,
most of the genetic variation for heat shock tolerance was orthogonal (i.e.
noncorrelated) between sexes, allowing independent evolution of heat shock
tolerance in males and females. These findings give support to the hypothesis
that the evolution of sexual dimorphism can be influenced by the environments
experienced during development

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Vol/bind25
Nummer5
Sider (fra-til)847-855
Antal sider9
ISSN1010-061X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - maj 2012

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