Genes with opposing effects on fitness at different life stages are the mechanistic basis for evolutionary theories of aging and life history. Examples come from studies of mutations in model organisms, but there is little knowledge of genetic bases of life history tradeoffs in natural populations. Here, we test the hypothesis that alleles affecting oxygen sensing in Glanville fritillary butterflies have opposing effects on larval versus adult fitness-related traits. Intermediate-frequency alleles in Succinate dehydrogenase d, and to a lesser extent Hypoxia inducible factor 1α, are associated in larvae with variation in metabolic rate and activation of the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathway, which affects tracheal development and delivery of oxygen to adult flight muscles. A dominant Sdhd allele is likely to cause antagonistic pleiotropy for fitness through its opposing effects on larval metabolic and growth rate versus adult flight and dispersal, and may have additional effects arising from sensitivity to low-iron host plants. Prior results in Glanville fritillaries indicate that fitness of alleles in Sdhd and another antagonistically pleiotropic metabolic gene, Phosphoglucose isomerase, depend strongly on the size and distribution of host plant patches. Hence, these intermediate-frequency alleles are involved in ecoevolutionary dynamics involving life history tradeoffs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences