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Data from: Maternal effects and maternal selection arising from variation in allocation of free amino acid to eggs

Cite this dataset

Newcombe, Devi; Hunt, John; Mitchell, Christopher; Moore, Allen J. (2016). Data from: Maternal effects and maternal selection arising from variation in allocation of free amino acid to eggs [Dataset]. Dryad.


Maternal provisioning can have profound effects on offspring phenotypes, or maternal effects, especially early in life. One ubiquitous form of provisioning is in the makeup of egg. However, only a few studies examine the role of specific egg constituents in maternal effects, especially as they relate to maternal selection (a standardized selection gradient reflecting the covariance between maternal traits and offspring fitness). Here, we report on the evolutionary consequences of differences in maternal acquisition and allocation of amino acids to eggs. We manipulated acquisition by varying maternal diet (milkweed or sunflower) in the large milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus. Variation in allocation was detected by examining two source populations with different evolutionary histories and life-history response to sunflower as food. We measured amino acids composition in eggs in this 2 × 2 design and found significant effects of source population and maternal diet on egg and nymph mass and of source population, maternal diet, and their interaction on amino acid composition of eggs. We measured significant linear and quadratic maternal selection on offspring mass associated with variation in amino acid allocation. Visualizing the performance surface along the major axes of nonlinear selection and plotting the mean amino acid profile of eggs from each treatment onto the surface revealed a saddle-shaped fitness surface. While maternal selection appears to have influenced how females allocate amino acids, this maternal effect did not evolve equally in the two populations. Furthermore, none of the population means coincided with peak performance. Thus, we found that the composition of free amino acids in eggs was due to variation in both acquisition and allocation, which had significant fitness effects and created selection. However, although there can be an evolutionary response to novel food resources, females may be constrained from reaching phenotypic optima with regard to allocation of free amino acids.

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North America