The evolution of trade-offs: effects of inbreeding on fecundity relationships in the cricket Gryllus firmus.

Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Evolution (Impact Factor: 4.66). 02/2001; 55(1):111-21. DOI: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2001.tb01277.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The evolution of traits is modulated by their interrelationships with each other, particularly when those relationships result in a fitness trade-off. In this paper we explore the consequences of genetic architecture on functional relationships between traits. Specifically, we address the consequences of inbreeding on these relationships. We show that the linear regression between two traits will not be affected if there is no dominance genetic variance in either trait, whereas the intercept but not the slope of the regression will change if there is dominance genetic variance in one trait only. We test the latter hypothesis using fecundity relationships in the cricket Gryllus firmus. Data from pedigree analysis and an inbreeding experiment show that there is significant dominance genetic variance in fecundity, but not head width (an index of body size) or dorsal longitudinal muscle (DLM) mass. Fecundity increases with head width, but decreases with DLM mass. As predicted, the intercepts of the regressions of fecundity on these two morphological traits decrease with inbreeding, but there is little or no change in slope. Gryllus firmus is wing dimorphic, with the macropterous (LW) morph having a lower fecundity than the micropterous (SW) morph. We hypothesize that the difference in fecundity arises primarily because of a competition for resources in the LW females between DLM maintenance (i.e., mass) and egg production. As a consequence, we predict that the fecundity within each morph should decline linearly with the inbreeding coefficient at the same rate in both morphs. The result of this will be a change in the relative fitness of the two morphs, that of the SW morph increasing with inbreeding. This prediction is supported. These results indicate that trade-offs will evolve and such changes will affect evolutionary trajectories by altering the pattern of relationships among fitness components.

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