Inbreeding depression in intraspecific metabolic scaling

in Animal Biology
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Metabolic scaling (i.e., the relationship between the size and metabolic rate of organisms) has been suggested to explain a large variety of biological patterns from individual growth to species diversity. However, considerable disagreement remains regarding the underlying causes of metabolic scaling patterns, and what these patterns are. As in all biology, understanding metabolic scaling will require understanding its evolution by natural selection. We searched for evidence of natural selection on metabolic scaling indirectly by manipulating the genetic quality of male and female Drosophila montana flies with induced mutations and inbreeding, building on the notion that mutations and inbreeding will cause predictable changes in characters under directional selection. Irradiation-induced mutations had no effect on the examined traits, most likely because of purging at an early stage. However, inbreeding increased the energy use of larger females, suggesting that selection has favoured low metabolic scaling in females. Inbreeding did not affect metabolic scaling of males. Together, our results suggest that natural selection on metabolic scaling acts differently on the sexes, depending on the relative importance of body size and energetic efficiency to individual fitness. The results call attention to the important notion that size-specific energy use can be an evolutionarily malleable trait.

Inbreeding depression in intraspecific metabolic scaling

in Animal Biology



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    Overview of the breeding design used to produce the experimental groups. Squares denote males and circles denote females. Filled symbols indicate that individuals are potential carriers of mutations induced through induced mutations of the parental (P) generation. This mating scheme (both groups) was replicated 31 times. Individuals of the F3 generation were the measured subjects in the study. The expected genotype frequencies at autosomal loci in the F3 generation are given below the figure, assuming zero inbreeding coefficient for the parental generation. Denotes pairing the male with an unrelated female within the same treatment (Induced mutations or Control).

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    Effects of body mass (log10 mg) and inbreeding on resting metabolic rate (log10 ml CO2 h−1) of male (panel A) and female (panel B) Drosophila montana. The solid line and filled circles indicate inbred (f = 0.25) individuals, and the dashed line and open circles indicate non-inbred individuals (irradiation treatment groups were pooled for figure). The space between the two vertical dashed lines in panel B corresponds to the body mass interval within which inbred and control groups do not differ in their metabolic rates significantly (P>0.05) in their metabolic rates. In males inbred and control treatments did not differ in metabolic rates and thus vertical lines were not drawn.

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