• Laurence D Mueller

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Within- and among-population variation in oviposition preference for urea-supplemented food inDrosophila melanogaster

      Amitabh Joshi Wendy A Oshiro Jason Shiotsugu Laurence D Mueller

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      Oviposition preference for ureasupplemented food was assayed by simultaneous choice trials on five pairs of closely related laboratory populations ofDrosophila melanogaster.Each pair of populations had been derived from a separate ancestral population about 85 generations prior to this study. One population in each pair had been subjected to selection for larval tolerance to the toxic effects of urea; the other population served as a control. Considerable variation in oviposition preference was seen both within and among populations, with four of the ten populations showing a significant mean preference for ureasupplemented food. The degree of specificity shown by individual females was surprisingly high, leading to a bimodal distribution of oviposition preference in some populations. Overall, selection for larval tolerance to urea did not significantly affect oviposition preference. However, the data indicated that pairwise comparisons between randomly selected populations from the two larval selection regimes would lead to a range of possible outcomes, suggesting, in several cases, that selection for larval urea tolerance had led to significant differentiation of adult oviposition preference for urea in one or the other direction. The results, therefore, highlight the importance of population level replication and caution against the practice, common in ecological studies, of assaying oviposition preference in two populations that utilize different hosts in nature, and then drawing broad evolutionary inferences from the results.

    • Short- and long-term effects of environmental urea on fecundity inDrosophila melanogaster

      Amitabh Joshi Wendy A Oshiro Jason Shiotsugu Laurence D Mueller

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      Previous studies have shown that exposure to urea-supplemented food inhibited fecundity inDrosophila females, and that this inhibition was not expressed when females were given a choice between regular and urea-supplemented food as an oviposition substrate. We assayed fecundity, on both regular food and urea-supplemented food, at 5, 15 and 25 days post eclosion on females from ten laboratory populations ofDrosophila melanogaster. The females assayed came from one of two treatments; they were maintained as adults on either regular or urea-supplemented food. We found that exposure to urea-supplemented food inhibited fecundity, relative to the levels exhibited on regular food, regardless of whether the urea was present in the assay medium, or in the medium on which the flies were maintained over the course of the experiment, thereby suggesting that urea has both a long-term (possibly physiological) as well as a short-term (possibly behavioural) inhibitory effect on fecundity ofDrosophila females. We also tested and ruled out the hypothesis that prior yeasting could ameliorate the inhibitory effect of urea in the assay medium on fecundity, as this was a possible explanation of why flies given a choice between regular and urea-supplemented food did not exhibit a preference for regular food in a previous study.

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