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Candidate genes and thermal phenotypes: identifying ecologically important genetic variation for thermotolerance in the Australian Drosophila melanogaster cline

Authors

  • LEA RAKO,

    1. Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Department of Genetics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia,
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  • MARK J. BLACKET,

    1. Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Department of Genetics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia,
    2. Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, School of Biological Science, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia
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  • STEPHEN W. McKECHNIE,

    1. Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, School of Biological Science, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia
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  • ARY A. HOFFMANN

    1. Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Department of Genetics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia,
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Ary A. Hoffmann, Fax: +61 3 8344 2279; E-mail: ary@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

Clinal variation in traits often reflects climatic adaptation; in Drosophila melanogaster clinal variation provides an opportunity to link variation in chromosomal inversions, microsatellite loci and various candidate genes to adaptive variation in traits. We undertook association studies with crosses from a single population of D. melanogaster from eastern Australia to investigate the association between genetic markers and traits showing clinal variation. By genotyping parents and phenotyping offspring, we minimized genotyping costs but had the power to detect association between markers and quantitative traits. Consistent with prior studies, we found strong associations between the clinal chromosomal inversion In(3R)Payne and markers within it, as well as among these markers. We also found an association between In(3L)Payne and one marker located within this inversion. Of the five predicted associations between markers and traits, four were detected (increased heat, decreased cold resistance and body size with the heat shock gene hsr-omega S, increased cold resistance with the inversion In(3L)Payne), while one was not detected (heat resistance and the heat shock gene hsp68). In a set of eight exploratory tests, we detected one positive association (between hsp23a and heat resistance) but no associations of heat resistance with alleles at the hsp26, hsp83, Desat 2, α-Gpdh, hsp70 loci, while cold resistance was not associated with Frost and Dca loci. These results confirm interactions between hsr-omega and thermal resistance, as well as between In(3L)Payne and cold resistance, but do not provide evidence for associations between thermal responses and alleles at other clinally varying marker genes.

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