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Data from: Natural genetic variation in social environment choice: context-dependent gene-environment correlation in Drosophila melanogaster

Citation

Saltz, Julia B (2011), Data from: Natural genetic variation in social environment choice: context-dependent gene-environment correlation in Drosophila melanogaster, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9063

Abstract

Gene-environment correlation (rGE) occurs when an individual’s genotype determines its choice of environment, generating a correlation between environment and genotype frequency. In particular, social rGE, caused by genetic variation in social environment choice, can critically determine both individual development and the course of social selection. Despite its foundational role in social evolution and developmental psychology theory, natural genetic variation in social environment choice has scarcely been examined empirically. Drosophila melanogaster provides an ideal system for investigating social rGE. Flies live socially in nature and have many opportunities to make social decisions; and natural, heterozygous genotypes may be replicated, enabling comparisons between genotypes across environments. Using this approach, I show that all aspects of social environment choice vary among natural genotypes, demonstrating pervasive social rGE. Surprisingly, genetic variation in group-size preference was density-dependent, indicating that the behavioral and evolutionary consequences of rGE may depend on the context in which social decisions are made. These results provide the first detailed investigation of social rGE, and illustrate that that genetic variation may influence organismal performance by specifying the environment in which traits are expressed.

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