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Data from: Experimental evidence that metamorphosis alleviates genomic conflict

Cite this dataset

Goedert, Debora; Calsbeek, Ryan (2019). Data from: Experimental evidence that metamorphosis alleviates genomic conflict [Dataset]. Dryad.


Whenever genetically correlated traits experience antagonistic selection, an adaptive response in one trait can lead to a maladaptive response in the correlated trait. This is a form of genome-level conflict that can have important evolutionary consequences by impeding organisms from reaching their adaptive optima. Antagonistic selection should be pervasive in organisms with complex life histories as larval and adult life stages specialize in dramatically different environments. Since individuals express larval and adult morphologies from a single genome, genomic conflict across ontogenetic stages should also be prevalent. Using wood frogs as a study system, we measured natural selection on larval and post-metamorphic life stages, and estimated genetic correlations among traits. Alternative life stages experienced a mix of both antagonistic and congruent viability selection. The integration between traits changed over the course of metamorphosis, reducing genetic correlations that cause conflict. Our results provide novel experimental evidence that metamorphosis can alleviate genomic conflict by partitioning life history stages into modules that can more readily respond to selection. These results highlight the adaptive potential of metamorphosis as a means to avoid ecological specialization trade-offs. Moreover, they provide insights into the prevalence and evolutionary maintenance of complex life cycles.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1655092


New Hampshire