Correlated responses to selection for stress resistance and longevity in a laboratory population of Drosophila melanogaster

J Evol Biol. 2005 Jul;18(4):789-803. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2005.00928.x.


Laboratory studies on Drosophila have revealed that resistance to one environmental stress often correlates with resistance to other stresses. There is also evidence on genetic correlations between stress resistance, longevity and other fitness-related traits. The present work investigates these associations using artificial selection in Drosophila melanogaster. Adult flies were selected for increased survival after severe cold, heat, desiccation and starvation stresses as well as increased heat-knockdown time and lifespan (CS, HS, DS, SS, KS and LS line sets, respectively). The number of selection generations was 11 for LS, 27 for SS and 21 for other lines, with selection intensity being around 0.80. For each set of lines, the five stress-resistance parameters mentioned above as well as longevity (in a nonstressful environment) were estimated. In addition, preadult developmental time, early age productivity and thorax length were examined in all lines reared under nonstressful conditions. Comparing the selection lines with unselected control revealed clear-cut direct selection responses for the stress-resistance traits. Starvation resistance increased as correlated response in all sets of selection lines, with the exception of HS. Positive correlated responses were also found for survival after cold shock (HS and DS) and heat shock (KS and DS). With regard to values of resistance across different stress assays, the HS and KS lines were most similar. The resistance values of the SS lines were close to those of the LS lines and tended to be the lowest among all selection lines. Developmental time was extended in the SS and KS lines, whereas the LS lines showed a reduction in thorax length. The results indicate a possibility of different multiple-stress-resistance mechanisms for the examined traits and fitness costs associated with stress resistance and longevity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Longevity*
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Species Specificity
  • Starvation / physiopathology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Temperature