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Data from: Protein deprivation facilitates the independent evolution of behavior and morphology


Han, Chang S.; Gosden, Thomas P.; Dingemanse, Niels J. (2019), Data from: Protein deprivation facilitates the independent evolution of behavior and morphology, Dryad, Dataset,


Ecological conditions such as nutrition can change genetic covariances between traits and accelerate or slow down trait evolution. Since adaptive trait correlations can become maladaptive following rapid environmental change, poor or stressful environments are expected to weaken genetic covariances, thereby increasing the opportunity for independent evolution of traits. Here, we demonstrate the differences in genetic covariance among multiple behavioral and morphological traits (exploration, aggression and body weight) between southern field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) raised in favorable (free-choice) versus stressful (protein-deprived) nutritional environments. We also quantify the extent to which differences in genetic covariance structures contribute to the potential for the independent evolution of these traits. We demonstrate that protein-deprived environments tend to increase the potential for traits to evolve independently, which is caused by genetic covariances that are significantly weaker for crickets raised on protein-deprived versus free-choice diets. The weakening effects of stressful environments on genetic covariances tended to be stronger in males than in females. The weakening of the genetic covariance between traits under stressful nutritional environments was expected to facilitate the opportunity for adaptive evolution across generations. Therefore, the multivariate gene-by-environment interactions revealed here may facilitate behavioral and morphological adaptations to rapid environmental change.

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