IN A VARIABLE THERMAL ENVIRONMENT SELECTION FAVORS GREATER PLASTICITY OF CELL MEMBRANES IN DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER
Article first published online: 3 FEB 2012
© 2012 The Author(s). Evolution © 2012 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 66, Issue 6, pages 1976–1984, June 2012
How to Cite
Cooper, B. S., Hammad, L. A., Fisher, N. P., Karty, J. A. and Montooth, K. L. (2012), IN A VARIABLE THERMAL ENVIRONMENT SELECTION FAVORS GREATER PLASTICITY OF CELL MEMBRANES IN DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER. Evolution, 66: 1976–1984. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01566.x
- Issue published online: 1 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 3 FEB 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 5 JAN 2012 02:10AM EST
- Received July 22, 2011, Accepted December 15, 2011, Data Archived: Dryad doi: 10.5061/dryad.143h7b99
- cellular membranes;
- developmental plasticity;
- Drosophila melanogaster;
- experimental evolution;
- thermal adaptation
Theory predicts that developmental plasticity, the capacity to change phenotypic trajectory during development, should evolve when the environment varies sufficiently among generations, owing to temporal (e.g., seasonal) variation or to migration among environments. We characterized the levels of cellular plasticity during development in populations of Drosophila melanogaster experimentally evolved for over three years in either constant or temporally variable thermal environments. We used two measures of the lipid composition of cell membranes as indices of physiological plasticity (a.k.a. acclimation): (1) change in the ratio of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) to phosphatidylcholine (PC) and (2) change in lipid saturation (number of double bonds) in cool (16°C) relative to warm (25°C) developmental conditions. Flies evolved under variable environments had a greater capacity to acclimate the PE/PC ratio compared to flies evolved in constant environments, supporting the prediction that environments with high among-generation variance favor greater developmental plasticity. Our results are consistent with the selective advantage of a more environmentally sensitive allele that may have associated costs in constant environments.