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Title: Genetic mixing facilitates adaptation to a novel environmental constraint
Abstract

Climate change can affect the length and timing of seasons, which in turn can alter the time available for insects to complete their life cycles and successfully reproduce. Intraspecific hybridization between individuals from genetically distinct populations, or admixture, can boost fitness in populations experiencing environmental challenges. Admixture can particularly benefit small and isolated populations that may have high genetic load by masking deleterious alleles, thereby immediately increasing fitness, and also by increasing the genetic variation available for adaptive evolution. To evaluate the effects of admixture on populations exposed to a novel life cycle constraint, we used the red flour beetle,Tribolium castaneum, as a model system. Distinct laboratory lineages were kept isolated or mixed together to create populations containing 1–4 lineages. We then compared the fitness of admixed populations to 1‐lineage populations while subjecting them to a shortened generation time for three generations. Admixture did not influence fitness after two generations. In contrast, in the third generation, admixed populations had significantly greater fitness compared with 1‐lineage populations. The timing of the increase in fitness for the admixed populations suggests that adaptation to the novel environmental constraint occurred in the experimental populations. Our study highlights the importance of admixture for facilitating rapid adaptation to changes in seasonality, and more broadly to environmental change.

 
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Award ID(s):
1930650 1930222
NSF-PAR ID:
10419697
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley-Blackwell
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ecological Entomology
Volume:
48
Issue:
4
ISSN:
0307-6946
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 517-522
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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