• Michael R. Rose

      Articles written in Journal of Genetics

    • The devil in the details of life-history evolution: Instability and reversal of genetic correlations during selection onDrosophila development

      Adam K. Chippindale Anh L. Ngo Michael R. Rose

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      The evolutionary relationships between three major components of Darwinian fitness, development rate, growth rate and preadult survival, were estimated using a comparison of 55 distinct populations ofDrosophila melanogaster variously selected for age-specific fertility, environmental-stress tolerance and accelerated development. Development rate displayed a strong net negative evolutionary correlation with weight at eclosion across all selection treatments, consistent with the existence of a size-versus-time tradeoff between these characters. However, within the data set, the magnitude of the evolutionary correlation depended upon the particular selection treatments contrasted. A previously proposed tradeoff between preadult viability and growth rate was apparent only under weak selection for juvenile fitness components. Direct selection for rapid development led to sharp reductions in both growth rates and viability. These data add to the mounting results from experimental evolution that illustrate the sensitivity of evolutionary correlations to (i) genotype-by-environment (G X E) interaction, (ii) complex functional-trait interactions, and (iii) character definition. Instability, disappearance and reversal of patterns of genetic covariation often occur over short evolutionary time frames and as the direct product of selection, rather than some stochastic process. We suggest that the functional architecture of fitness is a rapidly evolving matrix with reticulate properties, a matrix that we understand only poorly.

    • Quantitative genetics of functional characters inDrosophila melanogaster populations subjected to laboratory selection

      Henrique Teotónio Margarida Matos Michael R. Rose

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      What are the genetics of phenotypes other than fitness, in outbred populations? To answer this question, the quantitative-genetic basis of divergence was characterized for outbredDrosophila melanogaster populations that had previously undergone selection to enhance characters related to fitness. Line-cross analysis using first-generation and second-generation hybrids from reciprocal crosses was conducted for two types of cross, each replicated fivefold. One type of cross was between representatives of the ancestral population, a set of five populations maintained for several hundred generations on a two-week discrete-generation life cycle and a set of five populations adapted to starvation stress. The other type of cross was between the same set of ancestral-representative populations and another set of five populations selected for accelerated development from egg to egg. Developmental time from egg to eclosion, starvation resistance, dry body weight and fecundity at day 14 from egg were fit to regression models estimating single-locus additive and dominant effects, maternal and paternal effects, and digenic additive and dominance epistatic effects. Additive genetic variation explained most of the differences between populations, with additive maternal and cytoplasmic effects also commonly found. Both within-locus and between-locus dominance effects were inferred in some cases, as well as one instance of additive epistasis. Some of these effects may have been caused by linkage disequilibrium. We conclude with a brief discussion concerning the relationship of the genetics of population differentiation to adaptation.

    • Evolution of ageing since Darwin

      Michael R. Rose Molly K. Burke Parvin Shahrestani Laurence D. Mueller

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      In the late 19th century, the evolutionary approach to the problem of ageing was initiated by August Weismann, who argued that natural selection was more important for ageing than any physiological mechanism. In the mid-twentieth century, J. B. S. Haldane, P. B. Medawar and G. C. Williams informally argued that the force of natural selection falls with adult age. In 1966, W. D. Hamilton published formal equations that showed mathematically that two ‘forces of natural selection’ do indeed decline with age, though his analysis was not genetically explicit. Brian Charlesworth then developed the required mathematical population genetics for the evolution of ageing in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s, experiments using Drosophila showed that the rate of ageing evolves as predicted by Hamilton’s ‘forces of natural selection’. The discovery of the cessation of ageing late in life in the 1990’s was followed by its explanation in terms of evolutionary theory based on Hamilton’s forces. Recently, it has been shown that the cessation of ageing can also be manipulated experimentally using Hamilton’s ‘forces of natural selection’. Despite the success of evolutionary research on ageing, mainstream gerontological research has largely ignored both this work and the opportunity that it provides for effective intervention in ageing.

    • Fast evolutionary genetic differentiation during experimental colonizations

      Josiane Santos Marta Pascual Pedro Simões Inês Fragata Michael R. Rose Margarida Matos

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      Founder effects during colonization of a novel environment are expected to change the genetic composition of populations, leading to differentiation between the colonizer population and its source population. Another expected outcome is differentiation among populations derived from repeated independent colonizations starting from the same source. We have previously detected significant founder effects affecting rate of laboratory adaptation among Drosophila subobscura laboratory populations derived from the wild. We also showed that during the first generations in the laboratory, considerable genetic differentiation occurs between foundations. The present study deepens that analysis, taking into account the natural sampling hierarchy of six foundations, derived from different locations, different years and from two samples in one of the years. We show that striking stochastic effects occur in the first two generations of laboratory culture, effects that produce immediate differentiation between foundations, independent of the source of origin and despite similarity among all founders. This divergence is probably due to powerful genetic sampling effects during the first few generations of culture in the novel laboratory environment, as a result of a significant drop in $N_{\text{e}}$. Changes in demography as well as high variance in reproductive success in the novel environment may contribute to the low values of $N_{\text{e}}$. This study shows that estimates of genetic differentiation between natural populations may be accurate when based on the initial samples collected in the wild, though considerable genetic differentiation may occur in the very first generations of evolution in a new, confined environment. Rapid and significant evolutionary changes can thus occur during the early generations of a founding event, both in the wild and under domestication, effects of interest for both scientific and conservation purposes.

    • Effective population size and evolutionary dynamics in outbred laboratory populations of Drosophila

      Laurence D. Mueller Amitabh Joshi Marta Santos Michael R. Rose

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      Census population size, sex-ratio and female reproductive success were monitored in 10 laboratory populations of Drosophila melanogaster selected for different ages of reproduction. With this demographic information, we estimated eigenvalue, variance and probability of allele loss effective population sizes. We conclude that estimates of effective size based on genefrequency change at a few loci are biased downwards. We analysed the relative roles of selection and genetic drift in maintaining genetic variation in laboratory populations of Drosophila. We suggest that rare, favourable genetic variants in our laboratory populations have a high chance of being lost if their fitness effect is weak, e.g. 1% or less. However, if the fitness effect of this variation is 10% or greater, these rare variants are likely to increase to high frequency. The demographic information developed in this study suggests that some of our laboratory populations harbour more genetic variation than expected. One explanation for this finding is that part of the genetic variation in these outbred laboratory Drosophila populations may be maintained by some form of balancing selection. We suggest that, unlike bacteria, medium-term adaptation of laboratory populations of fruit flies is not primarily driven by new mutations, but rather by changes in the frequency of preexisting alleles.

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