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 Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Seeing more with PET scans: New chemistry for medical imaging
27.07.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement

27.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

Seeing more with PET scans: New chemistry for medical imaging

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Did you know that infrared heat and UV light contribute to the success of your barbecue?

27.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>