Correlated evolution of life-history with size at maturity in Daphnia pulicaria: Patterns within and between populations

Charles F. Baer, Michael Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Explaining the repeated evolution of similar sets of traits under similar environmental conditions is an important issue in evolutionary biology. The extreme alternative classes of explanations for correlated suites of traits are optimal adaptation and genetic constraint resulting from pleiotropy. Adaptive explanations presume that individual traits are free to evolve to their local optima and that convergent evolution represents particularly adaptive combinations of traits. Alternatively, if pleiotropy is strong and difficult to break, strong selection on one or a few particularly important characters would be expected to result in consistent correlated evolution of associated traits. If pleiotropy is common, we predict that the pattern of divergence among populations will consistently reflect the within-population genetic architecture. To test the idea that the multivariate life-history phenotype is largely a byproduct of strong selection on body size, we imposed divergent artificial selection on size at maturity upon two populations of the cladoceran Daphnia pulicaria, chosen on the basis of their extreme divergence in body size. Overall, the trajectory of divergence between the two natural populations did not differ from that predicted by the genetic architecture within each population. However, the pattern of correlated responses suggested the presence of strong pleiotropic constraints only for adult body size and not for other life-history traits. One trait, offspring size, appears to have evolved in a way different from that expected from the within-population genetic architecture and may be under stabilizing selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
JournalGenetical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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