a1 Zoologisches Institut, Rheinsprung 9, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland
We estimated genetic and environmental variance components for developmental time and dry weight at eclosion in Drosophila melanogaster raised in ten different environments (all combinations of 22, 25 and 28°C and 0·5, 1 and 4% yeast concentration, and 0·25% yeast at 25°C). We used six homozygous lines derived from a natural population for complete diallel crosses in each environment. Additive genetic variances were consistently low for both traits (h2 around 10%). The additive genetic variance of developmental time was larger at lower yeast concentrations, but the heritability did not increase because other components were also larger. The additive genetic effects of the six parental lines changed ranks across environments, suggesting a mechanism for the maintenance of genetic variation in heterogenous environments.
The variance due to non-directional dominance was small in most environments. However, there was directional dominance in the form of inbreeding depression for both traits. It was pronounced at high yeast levels and temperatures but disappeared when yeast or temperature were decreased. This meant that the heterozygous flies were more sensitive to environmental differences than homozygous flies. Because dominance effects are not heritable, this suggests that the evolution of plasticity can be constrained when dominance effects are important as a mechanism for plasticity.
(Received November 11 1991)
(Revised June 17 1992)
c1 Corresponding author.
p1 Present address: Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases, Ch-3097 bern/Liebefeld