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:
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses