Journal article

Life-history evolution and the genetics of fitness components in drosophila melanogaster

  • Flatt, Thomas Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Published in:
  • Genetics. - 2020, vol. 214, no. 1, p. 3–48
English Life-history traits or “fitness components”—such as age and size at maturity, fecundity and fertility, age-specific rates of survival, and life span—are the major phenotypic determinants of Darwinian fitness. Analyzing the evolution and genetics of these phenotypic targets of selection is central to our understanding of adaptation. Due to its simple and rapid life cycle, cosmopolitan distribution, ease of maintenance in the laboratory, well-understood evolutionary genetics, and its versatile genetic toolbox, the “vinegar fly” Drosophila melanogaster is one of the most powerful, experimentally tractable model systems for studying “life-history evolution.” Here, I review what has been learned about the evolution and genetics of life-history variation in D. melanogaster by drawing on numerous sources spanning population and quantitative genetics, genomics, experimental evolution, evolutionary ecology, and physiology. This body of work has contributed greatly to our knowledge of several fundamental problems in evolutionary biology, including the amount and maintenance of genetic variation, the evolution of body size, clines and climate adaptation, the evolution of senescence, phenotypic plasticity, the nature of life-history trade-offs, and so forth. While major progress has been made, important facets of these and other questions remain open, and the D. melanogaster system will undoubtedly continue to deliver key insights into central issues of life-history evolution and the genetics of adaptation.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Biologie
  • English
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