Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Environmental effects on genetic adaptation and population dynamics

25.04.2006
It seems intuitive that genes are affected by selection as a result of environment. In fact there is little evidence thus far that such genetic effects impact year-to-year population dynamics. Of course to provide such evidence the right gene (that causes a specific genetic effect) needs to be studied and a detailed knowledge of the complex and powerful environmental factors against which this effect plays out is necessary.

In a new study published online in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, Ilkka Hanski and Ilik Saccheri present their analysis of the Glanville fritillary butterfly on the Åland Islands in Finland, where its population dynamics are well studied in relation to its habitat—patches of meadows spread across the landscape. They provide evidence that variants of one gene influence population growth in a species of butterfly in a complex and habitat-dependent manner.

The authors investigated the gene phosphoglucose isomerase (Pgi). The Pgi gene has several forms, or alleles; The f and d alleles are most common—previously, butterflies with either ff or fd genotype were seen to have a higher flight metabolic rate and to be more fecund than those with a dd genotype—making the gene a good candidate for a population effect.

Applying a simultaneous analysis of genotype, population growth, and habitat among >130 small butterfly populations, the authors showed that, in small meadows, growth was highest when the ff or fd genotypes predominated, but in larger meadows, dd was favored the opposite was true—these genotypes predicted a decline in numbers instead of a rise, while dd was favored. This effect was specific to Pgi, as there was no correlation for six other genes analyzed. The authors suggest this might be related to differences in maturation and egg laying. Females with f alleles mature quickly and lay more eggs early on, just the strategy for exploiting a small patch, from which many butterflies risk drifting away rather quickly in their life. Females with d alleles mature later but also die later, allowing them to exploit a larger habitat more thoroughly. There are likely other reasons for the genotype-habitat area effect, since Pgi is likely to influence many different aspects of life history.

This study confirms that intraspecific genetic variation can influence population growth. It also brings home the point that there is not one specific “best” genotype—the favorable genotype will alter with environment according to the selective pressures in play.

Citation: Hanski I, Saccheri I (2006) Molecular-level variation affects population growth in a butterfly metapopulation. PLoS Biol 4(5): e129.

CONTACT:
Ilkka Hanski
University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland FIN-00014
+358-9-191-57745
+358-9-191-57694 (fax)
ilkka.hanski@helsinki.fi

Paul Ocampo | alfa
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0040129
http://www.plosbiology.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>