The effects of inbreeding and heat stress on male sterility in Drosophila melanogaster

Authors

  • LOUISE DYBDAHL PEDERSEN,

    1. Ecology and Genetics, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Building 1540, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
    2. Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, PO Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark
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  • ASGER ROER PEDERSEN,

    1. Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, PO Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark
    2. Hammel Neurorehabilitation and Research Centre, Aarhus University, Voldbyvej 15, 8450 Hammel, Denmark
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  • R. BIJLSMA,

    1. Population & Conservation Genetics, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103 CC, 9700 Groningen, the Netherlands
    2. Theoretical Biology, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103 CC, 9700 Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • JØRGEN BUNDGAARD

    Corresponding author
    1. Ecology and Genetics, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Building 1540, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
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Abstract

Understanding the consequences of inbreeding in combination with stress is important for the persistence of small endangered populations in a changing environment. Inbreeding and stress can influence the population at all stages of the life cycle, and in the last two decades a number of studies have demonstrated inbreeding depression for most life-cycle components, both in laboratory populations and in the wild. Although male fertility is known to be sensitive to temperature extremes, few studies have focused on this life-cycle component. We studied the effects of inbreeding on male sterility in benign and stressful environments using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Male sterility was compared in 21 inbred lines and five non-inbred control lines at 25.0 and 29.0 °C. The effect of inbreeding on sterility was significant only at 29.0 °C. This stress-induced increase in sterility indicates an interaction between the effects of inbreeding and high-temperature stress on male sterility. In addition, the stress-induced temporary and permanent sterility showed significant positive correlation, as did stress-induced sterility and the decrease in egg-to-adult viability. This suggests that the observed stress-induced decline in fitness could result from conditionally expressed, recessive deleterious alleles affecting both sterility and viability simultaneously. © 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, 104, 432–442.

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