Pervasive gene expression responses to a fluctuating diet in Drosophila melanogaster: The importance of measuring multiple traits to decouple potential mediators of life span and reproduction

Jelle Zandveld*, Joost van den Heuvel, Maarten Mulder, Paul M. Brakefield, Thomas B.L. Kirkwood, Daryl P. Shanley, Bas J. Zwaan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity is an important concept in life-history evolution, and most organisms, including Drosophila melanogaster, show a plastic life-history response to diet. However, little is known about how these life-history responses are mediated. In this study, we compared adult female flies fed an alternating diet (yoyo flies) with flies fed a constant low (CL) or high (CH) diet and tested how whole genome expression was affected by these diet regimes and how the transcriptional responses related to different life-history traits. We showed that flies were able to respond quickly to diet fluctuations throughout life span by drastically changing their transcription. Importantly, by measuring the response of multiple life-history traits we were able to decouple groups of genes associated with life span or reproduction, life-history traits that often covary with a diet change. A coexpression network analysis uncovered which genes underpin the separate and shared regulation of these life-history traits. Our study provides essential insights to help unravel the genetic architecture mediating life-history responses to diet, and it shows that the flies’ whole genome transcription response is highly plastic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2572-2583
JournalEvolution
Volume71
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Fecundity
  • gene regulatory networks
  • life span regulation
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • trade-offs

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