Lind MI, Ingvarsson PK, Johansson H, Hall D, Johansson F
Gene flow and selection on phenotypic plasticity in an island system of Rana temporaria
Evolution: 2011 65:684-697
Gene flow is often considered to be one of the main factors that constrains local adaptation in a heterogeneous environment. However, gene flow may also lead to the evolution of phenotypic plasticity. We investigated the effect of gene flow on local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity in development time in island populations of the common frog Rana temporaria which breed in pools that differ in drying regimes. This was done by investigating associations between traits (measured in a common garden experiment) and selective factors (pool drying regimes and gene flow from other populations inhabiting different environments) by regression analyses and by comparing pairwise F-ST values (obtained from microsatellite analyses) with pairwise Q(ST) values. We found that the degree of phenotypic plasticity was positively correlated with gene flow from other populations inhabiting different environments (among-island environmental heterogeneity), as well as with local environmental heterogeneity within each population. Furthermore, local adaptation, manifested in the correlation between development time and the degree of pool drying on the islands, appears to have been caused by divergent selection pressures. The local adaptation in development time and phenotypic plasticity is quite remarkable, because the populations are young (less than 300 generations) and substantial gene flow is present among islands.
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