Evolution of developmetal plasticity in insects

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2008
End date: 31/12/2010
Funding: 1215000 SEK


To understand phenotypic change during evolution it is essential to understand phenotypic change during development. Developmental switches integrate genetic and environmental effects on phenotypes and are fundamental biological mechanisms that connect developmental and evolutionary processes. Moreover, developmental switches are main mechanisms of adaptive developmental plasticity. I will explore the evolution of developmental plasticity by combining mechanistic and genetic studies of developmental switches with studies of how the phenotypic variation influences fitness in realistic ecological settings. The project focuses on larval development in butterflies and deals with developmental switches of two different types (life cycle and color dimorphisms) that are sensitive different environmental cues. I will perform breeding and selection experiments to estimate the level of developmental coordination and genetic architecture of switch mechanisms. Moreover, I will test the potential adaptive value of developmental switches by performing laboratory and field experiments that investigate determination mechanisms and fitness consequences of variation in morph. The proposed approach may yield results of general interest regarding the genetic architecture of switch-controlled developmental plasticity, its evolution and adaptive significance in a relevant ecological setting.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:58