Natural selection on body size in Tribolium: possible genetic constraints on adaptive evolution.

  • Conner J
  • Via S
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To determine whether genetic constraints on adaptive evolution were operating in a laboratory population of a flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, we first estimated the direct selection acting on each of several body size traits. Strong selection in males for an increase in pupal weight and a decrease in the ratio of adult to pupal weight occurred. In addition, a non-significant trend for a decrease in adult width was found. No significant selection on females was detected, although there were trends toward an increase in pupal weight and a decrease in adult width. These estimates were then combined with estimates of the genetic variances and covariances of the traits to predict the multivariate response to selection, that is, the evolutionary change in the traits across one generation. These projections showed only a small predicted change in male pupal weight in spite of the strong selection on pupal weight, and a relatively large predicted increase in width in spite of the possible negative direct selection on this trait. Both of these results were due in part to the positive genetic covariance between pupal weight and width, and they therefore suggest the possibility of genetic constraints on adaptive evolution of these traits.

Author-supplied keywords

  • evolutionary constraint
  • genetic correlation
  • natural selection

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  • Jeffrey Conner

  • Sara Via

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