Mode of Inheritance of Increased Host Acceptance in a Seed Beetle

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Bulletin of Entomological Research



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Colonization of a novel plant by herbivorous insects is frequently accompanied by genetic changes that progressively improve larval or adult performance on the new host. This study examined the genetic basis of adaptation to a marginal host (lentil) by the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus (F.). Quasi-natural selection in the laboratory rapidly increased the tendency to oviposit on lentil. The mode of inheritance of this increase in host acceptance was determined from crosses between three lentil-adapted lines and a line maintained on the ancestral host, mung bean. In each set of crosses, females from the lentil lines laid two to three times more eggs on lentil than did females from the mung-bean line. Hybrid females consistently displayed an intermediate level of host acceptance, which did not differ between reciprocal crosses. Alleles promoting greater oviposition on lentil thus were inherited additively, with no evidence of sex-linkage or cytoplasmic effects. In a time-course study, hybrid females initially resembled the parent from the mung-bean line, as few eggs were laid on lentil during the first 24 h. However, oviposition rates on lentil after 72 h were closer to the rate observed in the lentil-line parent. Inferences about additivity vs. dominance in genes affecting oviposition may, therefore, depend on experimental protocol. Comparison with earlier work suggests that inheritance patterns observed in crosses between recently derived selection lines (as in this study) may differ from those obtained in crosses between long-divergent geographic populations.

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