The alignment between phenotypic plasticity, the major axis of genetic variation and the response to selection

Martin I. Lind, Kylie Yarlett, Julia Reger, Mauricio J. Carter, Andrew P. Beckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of a genotype to produce more than one phenotype in order to match the environment. Recent theory proposes that the major axis of genetic variation in a phenotypically plastic population can align with the direction of selection. Therefore, theory predicts that plasticity directly aids adaptation by increasing genetic variation in the direction favoured by selection and reflected in plasticity. We evaluated this theory in the freshwater crustaceanDaphnia pulex, facingpredation risk fromtwo contrasting size-selective predators. We estimated plasticity in several life-history traits, the G matrix of these traits, the selection gradients on reproduction and survival, and the predicted responses to selection. Using these data, we tested whether the genetic lines of least resistance and the predicted response to selection alignedwith plasticity. We found predator environment-specific G matrices, but shared genetic architecture across environments resulted in more constraint in the G matrix than in the plasticity of the traits, sometimes preventing alignment of the two. However, as the importance of survival selection increased, the difference between environments in their predicted response to selection increased and resulted in closer alignment between the plasticity and the predicted selection response. Therefore, plasticity may indeed aid adaptation to new environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20151651
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume282
Issue number1816
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Chaoborus flavicans
  • Daphnia pulex
  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • Genetic accommodation
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Predation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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