In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the appropriate induction of dauer larvae development within growing populations is likely to be a primary determinant of genotypic fitness. The underlying genetic architecture of natural genetic variation in dauer formation has, however, not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we report extensive natural genetic variation in dauer larvae development within growing populations across multiple wild isolates. Moreover, bin mapping of introgression lines (ILs) derived from the genetically divergent isolates N2 and CB4856 reveals 10 quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting dauer formation. Comparison of individual ILs to N2 identifies an additional eight QTLs, and sequential IL analysis reveals six more QTLs. Our results also show that a behavioural, laboratory-derived, mutation controlled by the neuropeptide Y receptor homolog npr-1 can affect dauer larvae development in growing populations. These findings illustrate the complex genetic architecture of variation in dauer larvae formation in C. elegans and may help to understand how the control of variation in dauer larvae development has evolved.
- natural variation
- c. elegans