Get access

Adaptation of Drosophila to a novel laboratory environment reveals temporally heterogeneous trajectories of selected alleles


Christian Schlötterer, Fax: +43 1 25077 4390; E-mail:


The genomic basis of adaptation to novel environments is a fundamental problem in evolutionary biology that has gained additional importance in the light of the recent global change discussion. Here, we combined laboratory natural selection (experimental evolution) in Drosophila melanogaster with genome-wide next generation sequencing of DNA pools (Pool-Seq) to identify alleles that are favourable in a novel laboratory environment and traced their trajectories during the adaptive process. Already after 15 generations, we identified a pronounced genomic response to selection, with almost 5000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP; genome-wide false discovery rates < 0.005%) deviating from neutral expectation. Importantly, the evolutionary trajectories of the selected alleles were heterogeneous, with the alleles falling into two distinct classes: (i) alleles that continuously rise in frequency; and (ii) alleles that at first increase rapidly but whose frequencies then reach a plateau. Our data thus suggest that the genomic response to selection can involve a large number of selected SNPs that show unexpectedly complex evolutionary trajectories, possibly due to nonadditive effects.