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Data from: Quantitative genetics of immunity and life history under different photoperiods


Hammerschmidt, Katrin; Deines, Peter; Wilson, Alastair J.; Rolff, Jens (2011), Data from: Quantitative genetics of immunity and life history under different photoperiods, Dryad, Dataset,


Insects with complex life-cycles should optimize age and size at maturity during larval development. When inhabiting seasonal environments, organisms have limited reproductive periods and face fundamental decisions: individuals that reach maturity late in season have to either reproduce at a small size or increase their growth rates. Increasing growth rates is costly in insects due to higher juvenile mortality, decreased adult survival, or increased susceptibility to parasitism by bacteria and viruses via compromised immune function. Environmental changes such as seasonality can also alter the quantitative genetic architecture. Here we explore the quantitative genetics of life history and immunity traits under two experimentally induced seasonal environments in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Seasonality affected the life history but not the immune phenotypes. Individuals under decreasing day length developed slower and grew to a bigger size. We found ample additive genetic variance and heritability for components of immunity (haemocyte densities, proPhenoloxidase activity, resistance against Serratia marcescens), and for the life history traits, age and size at maturity. Despite genetic covariance among traits, the structure of G was inconsistent with genetically based trade-off between life history and immune traits (e.g., a strong positive genetic correlation between growth rate and haemocyte density was estimated). However, conditional evolvabilities support the idea that genetic covariance structure limits the capacity of individual traits to evolve independently. We found no evidence for GxE interactions arising from the experimentally induced seasonality.

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