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Low adaptive potential for tolerance to ethynylestradiol, but also low toxicity, in a grayling population (Thymallus thymallus)

Citation

Marques da Cunha, Lucas; Maitre, Diane; Wedekind, Claus (2019), Low adaptive potential for tolerance to ethynylestradiol, but also low toxicity, in a grayling population (Thymallus thymallus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7wm37pvp0

Abstract

Background: The presence of a novel pollutant can induce rapid evolution if there is additive genetic variance for the tolerance to the stressor. Continuous selection over some generations can then reduce the toxicity of the pollutant but also deplete the additive genetic variance for the tolerance and thereby slow down adaptation. One common pollutant that has been ecologically relevant for some time is 17alpha-ethynyestradiol (EE2), a synthetic compound of oral contraceptives since their market launch in the 1960s. EE2 is typically found in higher concentrations in rivers than in lakes. Recent experimental work revealed significant genetic variance for the tolerance to EE2 in two lake-spawning salmonid species but no such variance in river-spawning brown trout. We used another river-spawning salmonid, the European grayling Thymallus thymallus, to study the toxicity of an ecologically relevant concentration of EE2. We also used a full-factorial in vitro breeding design and singly rearing of 1,555 embryos and larvae of 40 sib groups to test whether there is additive genetic variance for the tolerance to this pollutant.

Results: We found that exposure to EE2 reduced larval growth after hatching, but contrary to what has been found in the other salmonids, there were no significant effects of EE2 on embryo growth and survival. We found additive genetic variance for embryo viability, i.e. heritability for fitness. However, there was no significant additive variance for the tolerance to EE2.

Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that continuous selection has reduced the toxicity of EE2 and depleted genetic variance for tolerance to this synthetic stressor.

Methods

see Marques da Cunha, Maitre, Wedekind (in review)

Funding

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: 31003A_159579

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: 31003A_182265